INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA -- No.5 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic brushed off a close first-set loss to overcome Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1, and advance to the third round of the BNP Paribas Open.
"The match was very tight and very close," Pliskova told the press, after the match. "I’m happy that I found a way to fight through and to start to play better in the end of the first set and in the second and third sets."
Pliskova and Doi had faced off seven times previously, dating back to 2010, and the Czech led their head-to-head 5-2. World No.5 Pliskova needed one hour and 40 minutes to notch her sixth win over the left-handed World No.121.
In the third round at Indian Wells, Pliskova will face Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure, who won her fourth straight match from one set down (two in qualifying and two in the main draw) with an upset of No.28 seed Donna Vekic of Croatia, 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
This will be the first meeting between Pliskova and Bonaventure. "I know [Bonaventure's] a lefty, and she has good hands, so I have to be ready," Pliskova said of her upcoming test.
Pliskova took advantage of two double faults to go up an early break at 2-1, but Doi immediately broke back at love with a crosscourt winner, then went up a break herself at 4-2 with strong returning. Doi’s lead was short-lived, however, as Pliskova broke the Japanese player again with return winners of her own.
Pliskova’s serves and Doi’s groundstrokes stayed solid for the remainder of the set as the players held serve with relative ease en route to a first-set tiebreak, where they were evenly matched up to 4-4.
But after a Pliskova forehand error gave Doi a 5-4 lead in the breaker, the qualifier took control, crushing a crosscourt backhand winner to reach double set point, then blasting a barrage of forehands at the Czech, ending with a winner, to take the one-set lead.
— WTA (@WTA) March 10, 2019
However, Pliskova shook that set off and dominated the second, crushing a return winner to break for 2-0, then thumping a putaway to break Doi again for 4-0. After a overpowering love hold for 5-0, the Czech was in complete control of the frame.
Doi recovered enough to hold for 5-1 and use exceptional backhands to fend off Pliskova’s first two set points in the next game. But a strong serve gave Pliskova a third set point of the game, which she converted with a thunderous ace, leveling the match.
Pliskova pulled off a similar feat in the deciding set, quickly breaking the Doi serve twice in succession to leap to a 3-0 lead. After drama-free holds to reach 5-1, the Czech seemed to be in the perfect position to grab the victory. As it turned out, Pliskova was able to close things out in the very next game, reeling off the final four points of the match, ending the tilt with a bruising return winner.