TIANJIN, China -- No.1 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic cruised into the quarterfinals of the Tianjin Open on Wednesday with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Polona Hercog of Slovenia, as she continues to fight for one of the final three spots at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
"I think I was quite good today," Pliskova told the press, after the match. "I was feeling good, I was serving pretty well. I didn’t lose my serve, which I think was important."
The Czech former World No.1 currently sits in 8th position in the Porsche Race to Singapore, just 10 points ahead of Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens in 9th place, and needs to reach the semifinals in Tianjin to add points to her total. She came closer to doing just that after her dominant 50-minute win over Hercog.
Pliskova and Hercog had played four times between 2014 and 2015, but had not played since that point. Nevertheless, Pliskova extended her lead in the head-to-head to 4-1 after this encounter. The powerful server from the Czech Republic won 80 percent of her first serve points, and she staved off the lone break point against her, which came in the very last game of the match.
In the Tianjin Open final eight, World No.6 Pliskova will face either her compatriot Barbora Krejcikova, who qualified for the main draw, or Great Britain's Katie Boulter, who is on the verge of a potential Top 100 debut.
"I’m just happy that I didn’t spend that much time on the court today, and I can rest a little bit and prepare for my next match," said Pliskova.
Pliskova kicked the match off in style, hitting a perfect lob for a winner to bring up break point in the second game, which was converted after Hercog sprayed a forehand long. An easy Pliskova hold for 3-0 was followed by another break, this time at love, for the Czech to obtain a 4-0 lead.
Serving down 5-0, Hercog hit her first ace of the match to give herself game point, and got on the scoreboard after a netted service return by her opponent. But Pliskova had no trouble closing out the opener, finishing the set with her second ace.
Pliskova broke to open the next frame as well, but she had more trouble in the second set than she had in the opener, having to fight from 0-30 down in her first two service games to maintain her break advantage. Still, she held onto it, without allowing Hercog a break point. Pliskova then claimed a second break for good measure to lead 5-2, following a wild double fault by the Slovene on break point.
The Czech, who won her second title of the year in Tokyo two weeks ago, quickly raced to triple match point at 5-2, before Hercog won four points in a row, clinching her first break point of the tilt with a crosscourt backhand winner. But a Pliskova drop volley erased it, and an ace then brought up a fourth match point. There, another big serve by the Czech forced a Hercog backhand error to wrap up the clash.