Dubai: Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza stemmed the rot after Tuesday’s carnage of seeds even as Elena Rybakina continued to roll into the singles quarter finals at the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open in the early matches on Wednesday.
Making her seventh main draw appearance during which her best was a runners-up spot when she lost to Simona Halep in 2015, Pliskova brushed aside qualifier Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 6-2 in a little over one hour.
Australian Open losing finalist Muguruza, who had survived a battling former world number one Kim Clijsters on the opening night, had to dig in even deeper for a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 win over Dubai main draw debutant Veronika Kudermetova in nearly two and a half hours.
Pliskova – who has made the quarter-finals in Dubai at the last two editions - broke early on either side of her serve to go 3-0 clear. A second break in the sixth allowed the second-seeded Czech to serve out the set 6-1 in 31 minutes.
In the second set, Pliskova broke in the very first and then held for 2-0 lead. The Czech got a second break in the seventh to for 5-2 to then serve out set and match 6-2 in a mere 67 minutes on a hot, sweaty afternoon. Pliskova has got a sound start to 2020 while winning her 16th career title at the Brisbane International in the bargain - becoming one of few players who has won at least one WTA title for consecutive seasons.
“I think the score was a little bit easier than it really was. I think we had a couple of tough games but overall I think I had it pretty much all the match under my control even though she played some great shots and some good serves, I think I was in charge of most of the games,” Pliskova said.
“I think my attitude made the difference today. I was not playing anamazing game but still I was there. I didn’t really give up. It was important that I stay positive because she could have made it difficult for me if I don’t really stay in the match,” she added.
Pliskova will now run into the winner of the match between exciting Kazakh girl Elena Rybakina or qualifier Katerina Siniakova on Thursday.
Later in the afternoon, Muguruza had to really keep her calm and poise to set aside a gutsy Russian opponent to win in three sets and set up a quarter final against American qualifier Jennifer Brady. “It’s no secret. You are playing tough matches, long rallies. Every opponent gives you a hard time. You just have to stay there and stay with her until, well, someone is going to get it,” Muguruza said.
Brady became the lone qualifier in the quarter finals with a hard-fought 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over 2019 French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, while eighth seed Petra Martic also eased into the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Barbora Strycova.
(Singles) Karolina Pliskova bt Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 6-2; Jennifer Brady bt Marketa Vondrousova 4-6, 6-4, 6-1; Garbine Muguruza bt Veronika Kudermetova 7-5, 4-6, 6-4; Petra Martic bt Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-3.