ROME, Italy - No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova will make her first quarterfinal appearance at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia after knocking out experienced clay courter Timea Bacsinszky, 6-1, 7-5.
A sensation on hardcourts to start 2017, Pliskova's struggles on clay have been well-documented, and told press she had no expectations after losing in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open to eventual semifinalist Anastasija Sevastova.
An emphatic win over Lauren Davis helped start her week on the right note and she picked up where she left off there against Bacsinszky, a former French Open semifinalist who beat Pliskova, 6-4, 6-0 at this very tournament two years ago.
The Czech powerhouse raced out to a 5-0 lead to start the match, and weathered a story second set to ultimately serve out the win after 80 minutes on court.
In all, Pliskova struck 27 winners to 14 unforced errors in the face of a high-quality performance from Bacsinszky, who hit 20 winners to 18 unforced errors.
Serving at 66% for the match, the World No.3 dropped just eight points behind her first serve to complete the quarterfinal line-up.
Standing between her and a spot in the semifinals is No.8 seed Elina Svitolina, who already won a clay court title this year at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup, but has never beaten Pliskova in five previous meetings.