CINCINNATI, OH, USA -- 2016 champion Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic blasted her way into the round of 16 at the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday, defeating Chinese lucky loser Wang Yafan 6-1, 6-3.
"So far, I think the tennis was fine," Pliskova told the media after her doubles win, which came later in the day alongside her twin sister, Kristyna.
In the first meeting between Pliskova and Wang, it was the No.3-seeded Czech who zipped through the first set before easing through a closer second set to claim victory after one hour and 11 minutes of play.
World No.3 Pliskova, who defeated Angelique Kerber in the 2016 Cincinnati final, won a tremendous 86 percent of points on her vaunted first service. Wang, who won the first WTA singles title of her career in Acapulco earlier this season, lost over two-thirds of points off of her own second serve in the clash.
Pliskova will now meet Swedish qualifier Rebecca Peterson in the third round. Peterson overcame fellow qualifier Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, 2-6, 7-5, 6-2, also on Wednesday.
"I’ve never really seen [Peterson] playing, so of course, I’m going to see some videos, or [coach Conchita Martinez] maybe saw a little bit of the match today," said Pliskova. "So we’re going to prepare."
"There’s some new faces, and some weeks are better for different players," Pliskova added. "[Peterson’s] beaten some good players, Strycova in the qualies, so I know she’s going to be confident."
The No.3 seed dominated the opening stages of the match, punching back-to-back volley winners to break Wang for 2-0, then reaching 3-0 with her second consecutive love hold. Wang then dropped serve for a second time after a game where she fired two double faults and two unforced errors, and the Czech was in total control of the first set.
Pliskova then faced two break points at 4-0, but erased those with a drop volley and ace to reach 5-0. Wang finally got on the board with a love hold, but more overpowering, forward-moving play by Pliskova garnered her a third love hold of the set and the one-set advantage after just 20 minutes.
Pliskova maintained the momentum at the outset of the second set, breaking Wang in a long opening game. But Wang immediately struck back, taking Pliskova’s serve for the very first time to level the set at 1-1. The Chinese player fought through another protracted service game, saving two break points and surviving eight deuces before holding for 2-1.
However, Pliskova kept pummelling forehands at Wang and was rewarded with another break lead, firing a forehand return down the line for a clean winner to go up 3-2. The Czech became embroiled in a difficult service game at 4-3, but closed out the game with two points in a row ending with forehand winners, putting herself a game away from victory.
Pliskova had her chance in the next game when she reached double match point, and the World No.3 completed her win by forcing an error with a crosscourt backhand.