BRISBANE, Australia - World No.6 Karolina Pliskova made quick work of American qualifier Asia Muhammad, winning in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals at the Brisbane International for the first time.
The 25-year-old American, who scored just the second WTA main draw win of her career in the last round against wildcard Donna Vekic, fought gamely against Pliskova but couldn't find a way through, falling 6-1, 6-4.
It was Muhammad's first match against a Top 10 player - in fact, it was the first time she'd faced a player ranked inside the Top 50 - and it showed during the big moments. Her all-court game kept her in the points with Pliskova, but she couldn't manage to bring up a break point against the Czech's booming serve in the first set.
? WTA (@WTA) January 3, 2017
The American found her footing in the second, staying within touching distance of the World No.6 for much of the set. But the big-hitting Pliskova found her way through, slowly but surely chipping away at Muhammad and cutting off her angles until the Czech got the break to serve for the match at 5-3.
Muhammad took advantage of an uncharacteristically loose service game from Pliskova - a pair of errors to fall behind 0-30 and a double fault on break point - to wrench the advantage away.
Her heroics were short-lived, however, as the always-cool Pliskova calmly broke once more to take the match after an hour and fourteen minutes on court.
Also in action today in Brisbane, Australia's own Destanee Aiava thrilled the local crowd by dealing a huge upset to American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The 16-year-old Australian, ranked No.387 and also a qualifier, shocked Mattek-Sands 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round.