THE BRONX, NY, USA – No.10 seed Karolina Muchova celebrated her 23rd birthday by making short work of wildcard Kristie Ahn at the NYJTL Bronx Open, powering to a 6-3, 6-1 victory in just 75 minutes.
The Czech had defeated Viktoria Kuzmova in the first round without facing a break point and came within a game of doing so again versus the WTA World No.152 only to be broken with a bagel looming.
But while Ahn held tough for the first six games of the match, once broken the 27-year-old found herself on the wrong end of a landslide defeat.
Although the American was able to retain parity initially, she was always being placed under intense pressure by the Wimbledon quarterfinalist. This was illustrated by the fact that she needed 24 points to hold her first two service games whereas her opponent required only eight.
Muchova had come into this match having been ruthlessly efficient against players outside the Top 100 this season, recording 13 wins in 15 outings, and a combination of her powerful hitting and sure work at the net ensured that statistic improved.
When the break finally arrived at the sixth time of asking, it was fitting that it came via a crushing forehand winner, which was emblematic of her performance.
The opening set safely tucked away, she set about dismantling the ailing Ahn in the second.
All of the first nine points went the way of the WTA World No.47, and while her opponent was at least able to make things competitive thereafter, she was unable to lay a glove on the higher-ranked player.
There was a momentary lapse in concentration from Muchova as she served for the match, allowing Ahn to chalk up a first break point before finally stopping a run of six-straight games against her.
However, this proved no more than a blip and Muchova reasserted her dominance by breaking to seal the second set and bring up a quarterfinal date against Magda Linette or Aliaksandra Sasnovich.