World number three and third seed Karolina Pliskova progressed to the third round of Wimbledon in fine style on Wednesday afternoon, dropping just two games to reigning Olympic champion Monica Puig as she opened up Centre Court action for the day with a one-sided victory.
Having won the title in Eastbourne last week, the former world number one struggled a bit in her first round match against Lin Zhu, prevailing in two tight sets out on Court Two. However, Pliskova was on a completely different level today, and Puig was never able to match it. The Puerto Rican managed to avoid being bageled in the second set after losing the first seven games, though could not work her way back in, with Pliskova prevailing 6-0, 6-4 in exactly an hour.
Classy Pliskova downs Puig with strong performance
Very little can be said about the first set, which was over in just 20 minutes. It started going wrong for Puig in just the second game, when she was broken from 40-0 up, and after that it was all Pliskova. The Czech made just one unforced error in the opener as she was never troubled, with Puig making several errors to extend Pliskova’s advantage. The Puerto Rican saved two set points on her serve, but a double fault handed the third seed the opening set with ease.
There was a sense of relief around Centre Court when Puig held early in the first set, with a hold for 1-1 meaning she avoided the double bagel. However, though the crowd tried to boost her, Pliskova was simply too sharp, and consolidated a break in her opponent’s next service game to lead 4-1. Puig was able to avoid being broken again to make the second set more competitive, and broke for the first time down 3-5, though Pliskova edged out a tight break to seal victory.
Though she got a little tight towards the end, it was overall a very strong win from Pliskova, who struck nine aces and in total 23 winners to just six unforced errors in a fine performance. Pliskova has often, rather surprisingly, struggled at Wimbledon in the past, losing in the second round in five straight years, though reached the fourth round last year and is just a match away from doing so once again.
The third seed will face 28th seed Hsieh Su-Wei in the third round on Friday.