STUTTGART, Germany – No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova emerged victorious in a battle of big hitters against CoCo Vandeweghe, advancing 7-6(2), 6-4 to take the last spot in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix quarterfinals.
With Angelique Kerber bowing out earlier, Pliskova was the highest seed left standing in Stuttgart on a day that also saw Johanna Konta and Svetlana Kuznetsova bow out. But it won’t get any easier ahead, as Pliskova’s next opponent is local hero and last year’s finalist Laura Siegemund.
“Definitely I am expecting dropshots,” the Czech joked in her post-match press conference. “I saw a little bit of today. That is just her game. My goal is just to play that fast that she doesn’t have time for playing the dropshots and obviously if she does I’ll try to run and get it.
“She is going to play well because she loves this tournament I guess and loves to play before the home crowd. She’s going to be tough tomorrow but I think if I play solid and serve well it can be fine.”
Pliskova needed an hour and forty two minutes to see off Vandeweghe – with just over an hour going to the first set alone. Both players are known to have a booming serve, so it was no surprise that both blasted aces past each other and brought up only a handful of break points in the tight opening set.
The Czech brought up a set point on the Vandeweghe serve, but the American batted it away to send the contest into a tiebreaker. Pliskova roared to life and allowed Vandeweghe just two points on her way to wrapping up the tough opening set.
Things got a bit trickier in the second, with both players finally able to make inroads on each other’s strong service games. Pliskova earned the first break of the match to lead 3-1 in the second, but Vandeweghe quickly restored parity at 3-3.
But Pliskova broke back one final time to take the decisive break and see off Vandeweghe in straight sets.
“It’s tough to feel something today because obviously with [CoCo’s] game you don’t get much rhythm, so I don’t really know how I played,” Pliskova laughed. “I’m just happy that I won because I need to win matches like this. I’m not feeling very well against opponents like this, so I’m happy that I made it.
“I think the key definitely was the serve which you always need against her, and also the tiebreaker of the first set. I think that was the key of the match that she started to miss something. Even when I was up 3-1, I was a little bit more up mentally and physically maybe as well.”