DUBAI, UAE - For the third time in her career, Karolina Pliskova is into the quarterfinals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
The No.4 seed saved two set points in the second set after coming from a break down to end the run of American Alison Riske, 7-6(3), 7-6(5), in Wednesday's round of 16.
Riske had already upset No.13 seed Julia Goerges in the opening round, and was gunning for her second upset of a seeded player this week at the Premier 5 level event.
After losing the opening set by the slimmest of margins, the World No.51 was unable to convert on a pair of set points in a lengthy 10th game of the second.
"I was running a lot. I think she really played well in the last couple games. She didn't give me anything for free, even any returns. I just really had to work for it. I was running from one side to the other," Pliskova said of the key game.
"She likes my pace, I like hers. You could see sometimes that the rallies were just like boom-boom-boom from one racquet to the other. I just found some good shots in the end of the second set. That was important."
After Pliskova held serve following seven deuces, the Czech broke to love in the ensuing game, but needed to seal her spot opposite Hsieh Su-wei with another tiebreak, as Riske broke to love herself to keep the match alive.
The American previouslu stayed even with Pliskova over 12 games in the opening set, as neither woman surrendered serve and Pliskova saved the lone break point faced between them at 3-3.
The 28-year-old could not recover from a 5-1 deficit in the tiebreak as the former World No.1 earned the opener in just under an hour on her third set point.
"I think especially the second set, we both improved somehow. It was tough. We had amazing rallies. I think we were both missing a lot the first set, so we were looking maybe for the timing little bit because was quite windy," Pliskova said.
"The wind was changing. Not the best conditions or tennis in the first set. Still, we hold serves until the tiebreak. Tiebreak, she didn't play well. I just was a little bit better in the tiebreak."
Pliskova will next face the veteran from Chinese Taipei for a second time, having outlasted her in a third-set tiebreak in Miami last year, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4).
"It's going to be different. You never know what's going to come from her racquet, obviously. She can play some amazing shots. She has a great feeling, great touch in the hand. It's going to be sometimes tough to do something," the Czech said.
"On the other hand, I'm going to have many chances on her serve because the serve is not her weapon. I know she beat some top players in the last maybe few months, few years, so she's for sure improving. For sure she's confident.
"I don't think anybody likes really to play her because you never have the feeling that you play great tennis, but I beat her, so I'm pretty positive."