No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova eased through her first round at the All England Club, dispatching Russia's Evgeniya Rodina in straight sets as she begins her quest for World No.1 and a maiden major title.
WTA Staff

LONDON, Great Britain - Karolina Pliskova put down an impressive perfomance to knock out Evgeniya Rodina, 6-1, 6-4, to advance into the second round of the Wimbledon Championships.

"I thought I was serving well, just playing well on her serve, which is always important," Pliskova said after the match. "I was just trying to be aggressive. I didn't know her game that much. We played once in the past.

"It was just my second appearance on this court, so it was a little bit new for me, as well. I just think I made it pretty well."

Pliskova came to the All England Club fresh off winning her third title of the season at the Aegon International.

That momentum was well on display to start as the Czech powerhouse struck a spellbinding 23 winners in the opening set, dropping just one game.

Rodina kept things more competitive in the second, ceding an early break but stayed within one as she improved her prowess behind her first serve.

Pliskova ultimately remained in control throughout, serving the match out to love to wrap up the contest after 70 minutes on court.

In all, the 25-year-old hit a total of 35 winners to 13 unforced errors and broke serve four times to book a much-anticipated second round encounter with dangerous floater Magdalena Rybarikova.

Rybarikova is a former World No.31 in the midst of an impressive comeback from wrist and knee surgeries; the Slovak won ITF Challenger titles in Surbiton and Ilkley, reaching the semifinals of the Aegon Open in Nottingham in between.

"I think it's the toughest draw in the second round so far for me at a Grand Slam. For being seeded, I think it's very tough, tough round.

"We've never played, but I know she can be really dangerous. On grass I think she can be dangerous with her game she plays. She can play a lot of slices, dropshots, serving well, also good at the net. Expecting a tough match, definitely."

The 25-year-old is in pole position to wrest the No.1 ranking following the fortnight; competing with current No.1 Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep, Pliskova is guaranteed to take the top spot provided Kerber doesn't reach the final and Halep doesn't reach the semifinals. Pliskova and Kerber are projected to meeet in the semis.

Should Pliskova and Halep play the championship match on Saturday, the winner would become No.1.

"I know it's been for last few weeks this thing about being World No.1 for few players. I just don't want to be focusing on this.

"For me it's just important to win the matches. I'm happy I passed the first round, especially when I was playing well in Eastbourne. I was expecting a little bit worse match than I was playing today.

"I'm just happy that I'm through and focusing on the next one."

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