Karolina Pliskova finally broke the duck at the Wimbledon Championships with a stunning 6-3, 6-3 win over the resurgent former world number one Victoria Azarenka in their blockbuster second-round encounter, triumphing in a quick hour and 12-minutes to seal a spot in her first-ever appearance in the third round having fallen at this stage on five consecutive occasions.
Pliskova blasted 15 winners to just 10 unforced errors, playing a relatively clean match to oust the former Wimbledon semifinalist while Azarenka was surprisingly ineffective on the return, failing to earn a break point throughout the encounter and hitting 13 winners to a bulk of 17 unforced errors. Pliskova will now face a tricky opponent in Mihaela Buzarnescu in an attempt to make her first second-week appearance here at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
Pliskova claims the opening set
Azarenka, who owned a dismal 2-4 win-loss record after her excellent run to the Miami Open semifinals, looked far from her best as she was unable to make a breakthrough on the solid Pliskova serve. The Belarusian even struggled in her opening service game, having to save three break point opportunities with some world-class controlled aggression, though.
A rare error on the backhand wing from the unusually-erratic Azarenka then saw her gift Pliskova with the first break of the day, ultimately allowing the consistent Czech to open a commanding 4-1 lead with an excellent one-two punch. Azarenka often got herself into trouble on her serve but recovered to save herself from the brink with her solid serving.
The slow start from Azarenka eventually proved costly with Pliskova not letting loose on her shots throughout the entire set, comfortably serving out the set to 15 after just 40 minutes and not facing a break point.
Pliskova grabs the impressive win
A spirited service hold by Azarenka opened the second set and unexpectedly, it was the Belarusian who had the first look at a break in the fourth game when Pliskova was brought to deuce on her serve on just the second occasion of the day. Nonetheless, an ace down-the-tee set up a game point which the world number eight ultimately converted.
The series of comfortable holds looked to continue but it was Azarenka who blinked first. Consecutive unforced errors by the former world number one saw her being broken for the first time in the set, allowing Pliskova to draw the first blood and lead by a set and a break. Excellent forehand winners then paved the way for the Czech to consolidate the break, storming out to a formidable 5-3 lead within a blink of an eye having clinched three consecutive games.
Pliskova then made it four, with Azarenka completely losing the plot and two double-faults derailed her rhythm — allowing the seventh seed to progress with a relatively comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win within just 72 minutes of play.