TOKYO, Japan - Former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova avenged twin sister Kristyna's defeat to Daria Gavrilova, outlasting the Aussie, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open.
"I think it was very tough," she said afterwards. "The first set was in my hands, and I made some stupid mistakes, so it didn't have to go to a third one, but I'm glad I fought back after I was losing in the final set. I could have played better, but for a first round, it was enough to stick around in Tokyo."
Ranked No.9 on the Porsche Race to Singapore, the 2016 US Open runner-up aims to string together a strong Asian Swing to secure a third straight appearance at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, and kept up that momentum in Tokyo with a two hour, 21 minute win over Gavrilova on the Main Arena.
Gavrilova saved a match point to defeat Kristyna Pliskova on Tuesday, and looked poised to pull off a rare Pliskova double when she rallied from a 1-4 deficit to win the opening set, breaking the three-time WTA Ace leader three times as she won six straight games.
Pliskova added: "I was just trying to be positive even though I dropped my racquet and I missed some easy balls. I was trying to fight because there's always a chance. I knew if I served well, I had a good chance at the end of the third set."
Fresh off a run to the US Open quarterfinals, Pliskova steadied in the second set, nabbing the only break to calmly force a decider, but quickly fell behind 4-1 in the third.
Ranked as high as No.20, Gavrilova saved a pair of break points to move within two games of a second Top 10 win of the season, having beaten Garbiñe Muguruza at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia back in May.
In a coincidental twist, it was Pliskova who won the final set just as Gavrilova won the first, gritting through the final five games - including a tense battle at 4-4 - to book her spot in the last eight.
The big-serving Czech star ended the match with 32 winners to 31 unforced errors, converting five of 18 break point opportunities. Gavrilova won the same number of points as Pliskova - 97 to 97 - but will rue ill-timed errors, striking 34 to 25 winners.
Up next for the No.4 seed is either fellow former No.1 Muguruza or American qualifier Alison Riske.