SEOUL, South Korea – No.2 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova came from behind to beat Kristyna Pliskova, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the quarterfinals of the Korea Open.
Although the match went all the way to a decider, such was the speed at which the players rattled through the games, it lasted only one hour and 32 minutes.
The first set was decided by a lapse from the Russian No.1 but she hit back with a single break to level. The third was more open but ultimately taken by Alexandrova, who moved through to her first WTA Tour quarterfinal on outdoor hard courts.
Fifteen minutes were all that were required for the players to share the opening six games, setting the pace for a match that raced along at a high tempo throughout.
Momentary lapses in the quality of the serving were all that brought chances for both players as they struggled to make inroads. Pliskova, who received coaching advice from twin sister Karolina, the WTA World No.2, delivered 75% of her first serves into the court and gave up just one break point opportunity in the opener, which Alexandrova tugged wildly wide.
Having missed her own chance cheaply, she then presented the next game to the Czech by serving three successive double faults from 0-15 down.
Although Pliskova securely served out the opening set, she found herself playing catchup from the outset of the second having given up an early break.
Not only would it be the only occasion that either player dropped a game when they had the balls in hand, it would be the only time in the second that the server allowed their opponent beyond 30.
With both players still unable to make inroads on return, there was something of a crisis moment for Pliskova as she faced a break point in the opening game of the decider after a double fault. A big serve helped her climb out of trouble on this occasion.
It was the beginning, however, of a change in the match. In contrast to the first two sets, neither woman found serve simple to hold and both had chances to break before the decisive move was made in the seventh game.
Alexandrova found herself with a 0-40 advantage on Pliskova’s serve, helped in part by a mishit overhead from the WTA World No.81. Although two points were saved by aces, the third was sent into the net.
The WTA World No.39 safely served the match out and will now face Kristie Ahn in the last eight.
The in-form American was made to fight from a set down to claim her place in the quarterfinals, too. Indeed, she lost the opener to Romania’s Ana Bogdan without picking up a game but a single break in the second allowed her to level.
Ahn faced the exit again in the third as she dropped serve to trail 5-3, but she hit back before going on to comfortably win the tiebreak, to take the match, 0-6, 6-4, 7-6(2).
Another player in good touch on the hard courts, Magda Linette, also made her way through, defeating Anastasia Potapova, 7-5, 7-6(4). The No.4 seed will play Kirsten Flipkens in the final eight after the Belgium upset No.7 seed Margarita Gasparyan, 6-3, 7-5.
In Wednesday’s other match, No.8 seed Wang Yafan outlasted Ysaline Bonaventure, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.