Pliskova steals the first set
Pliskova had the perfect start to the match as she held her serve in the opening game, looking fairly solid. Looking comfortably on the Paris clay courts, the Czech saved a game point in the next game and broke serve to take the early 2-0 lead after Zheng hit some unforced errors at the most crucial moments.
Nevertheless, the Chinese did not falter and instead broke straight back with two consecutive forehand winners, returning level on serve. Zheng then had her first service hold of the match, before Pliskova followed suit with a comfortable hold to love. It was then followed by an exchange of easy service holds as both players remained level on serve.
With Pliskova serving at 4-4 to be just a game away from victory, and seemingly completed the job when she led 40-0, Zheng proved everyone wrong when she rattled off five consecutive points to grab the first break of serve after the first couple of games, earning the golden opportunity to serve out the set. Serving for the set, Zheng ran out to a 30-15 lead and looked to have the set in her hands.
However, the Chinese started to get nervous and hit three straight unforced errors to gift Pliskova the break back and return level on the scoreboard. The errors proved to be costly as the world number three held her serve comfortably to be just a game away from clinching the first set. Once again owning a 30-15 lead, Zheng lost her way from then on as she missed a game point and crumbled to the pressure, eventually losing the set 5-7 after 49 minutes of play.
Pliskova strolls to victory
The second set looked to be promising for Pliskova as she had a comfortable service hold in the opening game, serving in some bullets. The win seemed to be within the Czech’s hands after she hit three consecutive forehand winners to break serve and take a huge lead of a set and a break. Zheng showed that she could do better when she came up with some wonderful topspin forehands to break straight back and return level. Just like the first set, Zheng managed to consolidate the break, but this time she had to fend off a break point with a backhand winner in the process.
From then, Pliskova went on a run as she started to play some of her best tennis, forcing errors out of Zheng as she broke serve for the fifth time in the match to regain the lead and edge closer to the victory. Her bullet-like groundstrokes on the clay courts certainly worked, coupled with the slices she input into her game, allowed her to cruise through the second set as she sealed the victory after 1 hour and 20 minutes, booking her place in the second round.