Third seed and defending champion, Karolina Pliskova started off her title defense against Stefanie Voegele. The Swiss player received a special exemption into the main draw as she was unable to compete in the qualifying due to her contention in Istanbul.
Voegele has a winning head-to-head record winning three out of five encounters. Pliskova who won on the last two occasions looked the favorite to win this one. And that she did in some style barely giving Voegele any chance in an all-round solid performance, outplaying the Swiss in straight sets.
Pliskova starts with a bang
Pliskova set the tone to the match right away breaking to love before flying away to a 3-0 lead. Voegele was having trouble with her serves and had no answer to the Czech’s aggressive forehands. Pliskova’s imposing start took a dent in the fourth game as poor serving and an overcooked forehand handed Voegele double break point. The Swiss player took the gift to finally get on board for 1-3 as Pliskova’s shot found the net.
Voegele though was not able to make the most out of the break as she went down once again trailing 1-4. The Czech was in control firing winners from either side and extended her lead to 5-1. She was unable to capitalize on four set points but eventually found the breakthrough sealing the set 6-1 on her fifth attempt as Voegele finally succumbed.
Better set from Voegele but Pliskova remains solid
Voegele seemed to grow into the game as she earned immediate break points at the start of the second set. Pliskova’s huge serves though came to her rescue on both occasions denying the Swiss the perfect start. Voegele’s serves were shaky once again but she dug deep to save a couple break points, holding serve for the first time in the match.
As the Czech remained solid in her service games, Voegele had to play catch up serving second. That pressure finally gave way as Pliskova got the break in the sixth game to go up 4-2. Not only was the defending champion hitting clean winners from the baseline, she was coming to the net to great effect as well. The Swiss player was fading away, unable to find a way to stop the Czech’s solid performance. Voegele held serve one more time for 3-5 before Pliskova closed out the win 6-1, 6-3 in straight sets.
Pliskova won 88 percent of her first serves against a struggling Voegele who was only winning 47 percent of them. The Czech was able to create 11 opportunities to break converting five of those and succumbed just the once in the first set.
Up next for Pliskova
Waiting for Pliskova in the second round is fellow Czech player, Katerina Siniakova who overcame Alize Cornet in straight sets. It will be the first meeting between the fellow countrywomen.