EASTBOURNE, England - No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova powered through her first match of the grass court season on Monday, as she bounced Alison Riske from the Aegon International in Eastbourne, 6-4, 6-3.
Last year's finalist, Pliskova clocked 35 winners to 29 unforced errors and broke serve once in each set to move through to the round of 16 in an efficient 69 minutes.
"I think I felt so good today. Even though it was first match, I probably didn't expect much from myself," Pliskova said. "Obviously the tennis was not the best, [but] I felt so free, and so that's what I want, to just feel like this every match. I was practicing not on grass but I came on Friday so I had two days to practice here.
"I was quite surprised how I felt for my first match on grass. I still want to play better, but the serve was okay and I think few shots there was pretty good."
Playing her first match since losing in the semifinals at Roland Garros to Simona Halep, the World No.3 was on-form against a dangerous grass-court foe in the American.
Serving seven aces, Pliskova never dropped serve in the victory, as she dominated by winning 92 percent of points behind her first serve.
The first nine games of the match went with serve as the Czech stayed ahead for the duration, but was forced to save the only two break points she faced in the match in the first game. Nine games later, she earned her first - and only - opportunity to break the Riske serve in the set, and converted without hitting a ball as the American served her first double fault of the match.
The second set began in similar fashion, with neither player facing a break point over the first seven games - neither getting to deuce on return.
However, Pliskova again made her move when she was given an opportunity, breaking the Riske serve on her second break point chance in the eighth game of the set and wrapping up the win on her fourth match point - after Riske pegged back to deuce from 40-0.
Pliskova will be within striking distance of the World No.1 ranking over the course of the next few weeks, and is looking to use her matches in Eastbourne to propel her to greater heights at Wimbledon, where she was upset in the second round a year ago.
"I know it's going to be tough with some pressure obviously in Wimbledon, but with the way how I finish in Paris, even though it didn't happen some goals what I had, and this thing with No. 1, I still was happy with the way how it finished," she said. "I think it can give me a lot of confidence right now on grass and then in the end of the year. With my game on grass, there is a bigger chance - [it] doesn't have to be that I go in semis or finals every time, but I think there is a chance, and now we can see that if I have a chance on clay, I think I have a big chance on grass.
"I still think on grass there is few very tough, can be very tough rounds with the way how some girls are playing. So somebody's really dangerous on grass but not unbeatable. I believe I can go far."
The seeded Pliskova twin followed sister Kristyna as a victor in Eastbourne, as the left-handed Pliskova sister survived wildcard Naomi Broady on Court 1 thanks to a dominant third set, 6-2, 6-7(7), 6-1 to set up a second round meeting with top seed and World No.1 Angelique Kerber.
Also advancing to begin the day were lucky losers Sorana Cirstea and Veronica Cepede Royg, who made the most of their second chances this week with wins over Katerina Siniakova and Hsieh Su-wei, respectively.
Qualifier Duan Ying-ying was two games away from victory at 6-3, 4-0 when Christina McHale retired due to injury, and Naomi Osaka blitzed compatriot Risa Ozaki with the loss of just one game, 6-0, 6-1 in 55 minutes.