World number three Karolina Pliskova, the second seed at the Eastbourne International this year, cruised into the quarterfinal earlier today, with Czech dismissing the potentially tricky Elise Mertens with ease to progress.
After withdrawing from Birmingham last week with injury, Pliskova looked good in her opening win over Margarita Gasparyan on Monday, and was even sharper today. Mertens is by no means an easy opponent, being a Grand Slam semifinalist last year, though the Belgian got off to a nervy start and never really recovered.
The 2017 champion and former world number one spent just 58 minutes on Centre Court, prevailing 6-1, 6-2 in a dominant performance to reach the last eight for a fourth time in Eastbourne.
Pliskova continues good form with dominant performance
Mertens won the toss and chose to receive, a tactic which cost her early on, with Pliskova 3-0 up in just five minutes thanks to some clinical tennis. The Czech looked at risk as she faced a break back point when serving at 3-1, though saved it to hold, and took advantage of some sloppy tennis from the Belgian to break again for a 5-1 lead. The second seed had little trouble in serving it out after just 24 minutes.
The start of the second set seemed a little more even, with Mertens holding two break points that would have seen her take a 3-1 lead, though Pliskova saved both, and then played a superb return game to break for the third time in the match, and take a decisive lead. She once again came under a little pressure, though saved two break points to hold, and a poor game from her opponent saw her break to love for a 5-2 lead. The Czech was a little nervous serving it out, missing two match points, but took her third to progress.
Pliskova could not have asked for a much better performance, hitting five aces and not dropping her own serve at all, as well as breaking Mertens on four occasions. The Belgian was evidently far from her best, but Pliskova will care little, and will be incredibly satisfied with her two performances so far. The Czech faces Jelena Ostapenko or Ekaterina Alexandrova next.