EASTBOURNE, Great Britain - 2017 Nature Valley International champion Karolina Pliskova surged into her fourth straight quarterfinal in Eastbourne, dismissing Qatar Total Open winner Elise Mertens, 6-1, 6-2.
"I was not really rushing, except maybe the last game because it started to rain. But overall, I think everything just went a little bit my way today since the beginning," she explained in her post-match press conference.
The former World No.1 reached back-to-back finals at this event in 2016 and 2017, and backed up her dominant display against Margarita Gasparyan with an even more emphatic performance on Wednesday, winning in 58 minutes on Centre Court.
"I felt like, it's bad to say, but there was no chance that I was going to lose today. I don't know. I just felt super confident after I made the quick break in the first set, and I just thought, like, she's not playing game that I don't like.
"So everything just went a little bit, you know, smoother for me. I was serving well. So the wind was not the best, of course, but I think everything was good play."
Pliskova and Mertens were initially set to play for the first time in Doha back in February before the former US Open finalist was forced to withdraw due to a viral illness. Mertens ended up playing Pliskova's twin sister Kristyna in the second round and went on to win the biggest title of her career - defeating Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber, and Simona Halep in back-to-back matches.
In Eastbourne, however, Pliskova quickly proved to have the ascendency, winning the first three games and saving break point in the fifth game before riding through the set behind a double break.
"I've been practicing a lot, and I've been enjoying Eastbourne a lot. So far, the weather has been quite good."
Mertens looked to turn things around in the second set, holding serve to love and engineering two break points on the Czech's serve, but it was the No.2 seed who remained in front, saving both and winning the final four games of the match.
— WTA (@WTA) June 26, 2019
In all, Pliskova struck a whopping 24 winners to just 17 unforced errors, and maintained a near-perfect break point conversion rate, winning four of five.
"I feel good on court. I think there are good things which I'm doing. What we do in practice, I'm able to do in the match, which is positive. Of course here I've always felt somehow good on these courts. I feel happy and so far I'm playing good tennis this tournament."
Mertens will rue her three missed chances and 15 unforced errors to six winners, and will head to Wimbledon looking to reach the second week for the first time - having made the fourth round or better at the other three major tournaments.
Standing between the former World No.1 and a spot in the semifinals will be Ekaterina Alexandrova, who advanced after 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko retired in the second set of their Round of 16 clash.
"We played just once, but we had some practices in the past. So I quite know she can be dangerous, too. She hits flat shots fast. But I think if I continue to play like I was playing, it's not probably gonna be like today, but it should be fine."