PARIS, France - Pushed back a day because of rain, No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova ousted the last German standing in Paris on Sunday, defeating Carina Witthoeft 7-5, 6-1 to reach the fourth round of the French Open.
From 4-2 down in the opening set, the No.2 seed won 11 of the last 13 games to move into the second week in Paris for the first time in her career. It is the third straight second week for the Czech at majors, after reaching the US Open final last summer and the quarterfinals this year in Australia.
"I am surprised that I'm in the fourth round here," said Pliskova. "For the first time, obviously. I'm also quite surprised that, at three straight Grand Slams, I passed the third round. But especially on clay, I've never passed the second here. So it's quite huge for me."
Aggression won out for Pliskova on the afternoon, as the No.2 seed rifled 34 winners to Witthoeft's five and broke serve six times.
She didn't have it all her own way however, as the 22-year-old German put up some swift resistance after falling behind by a break in the first game of the match. Three straight unforced errors off the backhand from Pliskova drew Witthoeft level in the fourth game, and the German earned another break to run her streak to three straight games and lead 4-2.
However, the No.2 seed stayed the course, and hit back to break straight away in the seventh game, as she ran off five of the final six to pocket the opener.
Witthoeft came within two points of taking the first set herself, as she pushed to 30-30 on the Pliskova serve at 4-5, but the Czech held on and broke at love for the decisive moment in the first set.
Buoyed by rising to the challenge in the opener, Pliskova quickly built a 4-0 lead in the second set, and was never taken to deuce by Witthoeft in three service games.
The No.2 seed struck 12 of her winners in the seven games of the second set, never allowing Witthoeft to hit even one ball past her for a winner, and wrapped up the 69-minute encounter with a forehand smash.
"I don't really feel I am favorite on paper on the clay," said Pliskova. "So every match for me is tough and it doesn't matter if she's [ranked] 60 or if she's 300.
"I still don't think I'm playing the best tennis. It's good, but I can still improve. So definitely today, the second set I think was the best so far that I played in this tournament. But still there are some things that I want to improve and that I want to play better.
"I think my forehand is quite okay, I would say, or it was okay today. But I hated my backhand today. It was terrible and that's what I want to improve. The serve can always be better but still I had some good serves."