MELBOURNE, Australia - No.7 seed Karolina Pliskova continued her perfect start to 2019, dismissing up-and-coming countrywoman Karolina Muchova, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the second round of the Australian Open.
"I think I started really well today," Pliskova said during her on-court interview. "I was feeling great, even in the warm-up!"
Pliskova kickstarted her season with a second Brisbane International trophy - her 12th WTA title overall - and brought that form to Melbourne Arena on Tuesday, needing just one hour and nine minutes to advance.
"I think it's a good start. I'm happy I saved some time on court and didn't have to spend too much time here, but it's always tough to play a Czech girl. I would say I'm lucky because I'm always playing them at every tournament, so I'm happy that I'm through."
A qualifier in Melborune, Muchova first showed she was one to watch under the lights of the 2018 US Open, where she stunned two-time major champion and former World No.1 Garbiñe Muguruza well past midnight on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Looking to employ her flash game against the self-styled Ace Queen, the two Czechs exchanged breaks early on before Pliskova found her footing, saving a break point in the seventh game to ultimately serve out the opening set to 15.
Muchova continued to battle as Pliskova pressed her on serve, but the former World No.1 wouldn't be denied as she took a 4-0 advantage in the second set, securing victory on her second match point.
"After the off-season, everyone's looking forward to these tournaments in Australia. I'm always happy here; I don't know why, but I always play good tennis here, and the atmosphere is always really great. I'm always happy to come back."
With dual coaches Rennae Stubbs and Conchita Martinez in her corner, Pliskova struck 21 winners to 15 unforced errors while Muchova managed 17 winners to 22 unforced errors.
"I have two coaches here and they're everywhere," she joked, looking for them in the crowd. "I think it's good that they're two former players, fixing my game. They want me to be more aggressive, move my legs. I think it's working."
Maintaining a 71% winning percentage behind her first serve, the to-time Australian Open quarterfinalist was equally impressive off her second serve, dropping just six points over two sets.
Up next for Pliskova could be another qualifier in Misaki Doi or American Madison Brengle.
More to come...