London: Former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova battled past Hsieh Su-Wei 6-3 2-6 6-4 on Friday in a clash of contrasting styles to reach the Wimbledon fourth round for the second time.
Czech third seed Pliskova made full use of her mighty serve, firing 14 aces on Court One to counter Hsieh’s fast feet and soft hands and prevail in an hour and 46 minutes.
Both players started the opening set strongly before an unusually untidy game by world number 16 Hsieh allowed Pliskova to claim a break for a 5-3 lead.
That was the opening the 27-year-old needed as she switched gears and closed out the set with her sixth ace.
Hsieh responded with an early break in the second set to race 4-2 ahead and the 33-year-old saved four break points in the seventh game before taking the match into a decider.
Pliskova, who beat last year’s Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber in the Eastbourne final last week, put Hsieh on the back foot with searing groundstrokes early in the third set to break for a 3-1 lead.
Appearing less rattled by Hsieh’s variations as the match wore on, Pliskova staved off a late comeback attempt by the Taiwanese to close out victory.
Up next for Pliskova is Czech Karolina Muchova, who defeated 20th seed Anna Kontaveit 7-6, 6-3.
Elsewhere, it had all looked so good for former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. The newly-wed Dane raced into a 4-0 lead over China’s Zhang Shuai in their third round clash on Court Two.
But that was as good as it got. From there she slipped, via a rambling, rumbling grumble about Hawk-Eye, to a 6-4 6-2 defeat.
“I thought there was a few ones that I saw way differently,” the 28-year-old said, referring to her ongoing irritation with the line-call verification system.
“But it is what it is. You can’t really change a Hawk-Eye call. You just have to move on.
“Obviously when you think you’ve won the point and then have to replay, that can be frustrating.”
In the men’s singles, former finalist Milos Raonic ended Reilly Opelka’s Wimbledon run by beating the towering American in straight sets in the third round.
In a matchup of big servers, Raonic broke twice in each of the last two sets to win 7-6, 6-2, 6-1 and reach the fourth round for the fifth time. Both players finished with 13 aces each but Raonic had only seven unforced errors to Opelka’s 31.
The 6-foot-11 Opelka was making his Wimbledon debut and knocked out three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in the second round.
Raonic lost to Andy Murray in the 2016 Wimbledon final.
Men’s Singles (Third Round)
Milos Raonic (15), Canada, def. Reilly Opelka, United States, 7-6, 6-2, 6-1
Roberto Bautista-Agut (23), Spain, def. Karen Khachanov (10), Russia, 6-3, 7-6, 6-1
Benoit Paire (28), France, def. Jiri Vesely, Czech Republic, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3, 7-6
Women’s Singles (Third Round)
Elina Svitolina (8), Ukraine, def. Maria Sakkari (31), Greece, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2
Karolina Pliskova (3), Czech Republic, def. Su-Wei Hsieh (28), Chinese Taipei, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
Shuai Zhang, China, def. Caroline Wozniacki (14), Denmark, 6-4, 6-2
Dayana Yastremska, Ukraine, def. Viktorija Golubic, Switzerland, 7-5, 6-3