MONTREAL, Canada - In her first action in nearly a month, former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova made a winning return to action at the Coupe Rogers on Monday.
The No.9 seed ousted compatriot Katerina Siniakova in her opener in Canada, 6-4, 6-4, to move safely through to the second round.
It's been an eventful period for the Czech off the court since the year's third Grand Slam concluded, as she wed fiancé Michal Hrdlicka in late July after suffering a fourth-round exit at Wimbledon on July 9.
Despite recording a straight-set victory, the elder Czech had her hands full with her 22-year-old compatriot over the course of 89 minutes.
"I know Katerina well because we practice in the same club. It's never easy match in the first round, but I'm just happy that I'm through," Pliskova said on-court after the match.
"It's the first hardcourt match after Wimbledon, and I think it was quite good quality for me. I'm happy that I'm in the next round and hopefully, I can improve a little bit."
In a set which saw just one break of serve, Pliskova was forced to save two break points in a lengthy five-deuce game to stay in front in the opener, before finally sealing it on her first break point of the match after building a 0-40 lead.
"I came few days earlier before the tournament [to prepare]," Pliskova said in her post-match press conference. "I felt pretty good, I have to say, already from yesterday or the day before. I got little bit used to it.
"It's not that much difference. Just the humidity is different. I'm happy I finished in two sets, that I didn't have to stay longer on court. I think I would be fine to play even a little bit longer, but two sets were better."
From 4-4 in the first set, Pliskova ran off five straight games to seemingly take command of the encounter, and later led 6-4, 4-1.
However, Siniakova continued to battle and won four straight games to level the match, but was never able to take a lead overall.
"I think I started little bit more aggressive in the beginning of the second set, that's why I got the lead 4-1. Could be 5-1, 6-1. Little bit shaky in the end, and I was not able to hold my serve. I did not serve well throughout the match: lot of double-faults, not really much first serves.
"I think she's very dangerous. She hit few shots. I missed few shots. That's all about it. Overall pretty solid for me. I felt good. Nothing special, but I think solid start."
The younger Czech saved a match point with bold play at the net in the 10th game, but a double fault -her second in the final gave - set up Pliskova's second match point.
The No.9 seed struck 28 winners to 26 unforced errors in the match overall, pairing five aces with nine double faults. Though her usually strong serve proved a little erratic, as she was broken twice, she went 3-for-8 on the break point opportunities she was afforded in the match.
Pliskova could next have a Wimbledon rematch on the cards, as she will face the winner of the match between Kiki Bertens and wildcard Carol Zhao.
"I don't know anything about the Canadian. I will try to watch a little bit, if it's possible, of this match. Of course, Bertens I know. It was my last match at Wimbledon, and we played Stuttgart, as well. There's not going to be a surprise if I play her.
"So far we didn't play on hardcourts, I think. It's going to be completely different. I'm just happy to be back on hardcourts. It's still my favorite surface of all these years. I think it's going to be different than on grass or even on clay, but for sure tough."