Dubai: Karolina Pliskova was the last seeded player to book her place in the Round of 16 with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win over Dominika Cibulkova in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, late on Tuesday.
With play interrupted for around 20 minutes due to rain at a set apiece, it was fourth-seeded Pliskova who came out and put the finishing touches while winning the third set.
The evening had earlier witnessed the shock exit of new world number one Naomi Osaka who caved in to Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic. Pliskova ensured there were no further hiccups as the world number five from the Czech Republic took the opening set 6-2.
But, Cibulkova who had led their head-to-head encounter at 3-1, came right back to draw level while winning the second set 6-3 before an intermittent drizzle sent the two players back inside at around 10.10 pm after 77 minutes of play. The rain stopped at around 10.30 pm and after staff had wiped the court dry, Pliskova came and served off set and match and be the last of the players to advance for Wednesday’s Round of 16 matches.
“The idea was to keep the focus and continue doing what I had done in the first set,” Pliskova said after the match.
“Tomorrow is a different day. I am happy with all the things I did right tonight. I will have some time to reflect on what didn’t go right for me. We will see how we can do these things better,” she added.
Pliskova’s best in Dubai was a runner-up spot when she lost to Simona Halep in 2015. Last year, she made it to the quarter-final before falling to Germany’s Angelique Kerber. The lanky 26-year-old Czech will now meet American Alison Riske in Wednesday’s Round of 16 match on centre court.