World number one and 2016 US Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova started her quest for a first Grand Slam title in fine style on Tuesday, dropping just three games on Arthur Ashe Stadium as she eased past Magda Linette.
Pliskova, the top seed at the final Grand Slam tournament this year, was not at her best in the early stages against the Pole, who had beaten the world number one back on the ITF tour back in 2012, though raised her games throughout and eventually prevailed 6-2, 6-1 in just one hour and 18 minutes.
It was hardly a flawless performance by the world number one, making 19 unforced errors out on court, but she also hit an impressive 28 winners and will be satisfied with her opening round performance. Pliskova, who needs to reach the final once again to have any chance of being world number one after the tournament, faces Veronica Cepede Royg or Nicole Gibbs in her next match.
Pliskova starts quest for maiden major in comfortable style
Things were not too easy in the early stages for Pliskova, who was perhaps a little tense due to the vast amounts of pressure on her shoulders, though the world number one and runner-up last year eventually had well more than enough to seal a comprehensive victory in her opening match.
Pliskova unsurprisingly got off to a fast start, breaking Linette for a 2-0 lead, though handed the break immediately back to the Pole. The world number one was evidently far from her best, though Linette was unable to take advantage and fell behind once again, Pliskova consolidating a break at the second time of asking to take a 4-1 lead after two tight games.
Linette undoubtedly proved difficult for the Czech in the opening stages, though the Pole failed to convert three break points to get her back in contention, and was then broken for a third time as Pliskova took the opening set 6-2. The top seed had undoubtedly been striking the ball a lot better towards the end of the opening set, and, despite a slight delay to close the roof on Ashe due to the incoming rain, started to prove far too strong for Linette, easing to a three love lead in the second set.
Down a set and a break, the Pole showed some signs of resistance, though she failed to convert six break back points in a ten-minute game, putting the world number one just two games away from the second round. After that any fight that Linette had tried to summon previously vanished, with Pliskova winning the last eight points to seal a fairly comfortable victory.