San Diego Open: Karolina Pliskova's erratic play sees her exit in opener!

Belinda Bencic becomes the first seed to bow out of the WTA 500

by Abbey Johnson
San Diego Open: Karolina Pliskova's erratic play sees her exit in opener!
© Joe Scarnici/ Getty Images Sport

Karolina Pliskova had to endure another painful loss, this time at the San Diego Open. Anhelina Kalinina defeated the former world no. 1, 7-6(4), 0-6, 6-3 in two hours and 32 minutes in their first-round clash. Pliskova’s level fluctuated vastly across the three sets.

In the first set, both players traded breaks before Kalinina moved ahead after pipping her opponent in the tie-break. The Ukrainian won only 60% of her first-serve points to Pliskova’s 76% in the set but won 67% points on return on the latter’s second serve.

The 34th-ranked Pliskova upped her game in the second set. She won 78% of her first and second-serve points and saved all three break points she faced. She also finished the set by winning 69% points on return on Kalinina’s first serve and 67% points on the latter’s second-serve return.

Pliskova also carried this momentum into the third set as she secured an early break for herself. But her level dipped one last time and Kalinina came from down a break to secure a 5-2 lead for herself. The Czech eventually claimed one more game for herself but it proved to be consolatory as Kalinina served out the match successfully, in the ninth game of the set.

Since Wimbledon, Pliskova’s win-to-loss record stands at 2-5. The only two matches she’s won on the American soil have been in the first rounds of the Canadian Open (in Montreal) and the US Open.

San Diego Open: Aliaksandra Sasnovich outplays Belinda Bencic

Meanwhile, Kalinina will play another Czech in fourth seed Barbora Krejcikova in the second round.

Krejcikova, like the other top three seeds, received a first-round bye this week. The lone upset on the first day of play in California was that of Belinda Bencic. The Swiss, seeded fifth, crashed out at the hands of Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Sasnovich, who qualified for the main draw, posted a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win after two hours and 17 minutes of play. Emma Navarro will be Sasnovich’s second-round opponent. The American qualifier defeated Jasmine Paolini 7-5, 6-0 in their round-of-32 meeting in 86 minutes.

Anastasia Potapova and Katie Volynets will play each other for a spot in the quarter-final. Potapova won against Alycia Parks 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the first round. Volynets beat fellow American and qualifier, Clervie Ngounoue, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Lastly, Camila Osorio also clinched a spot in the round-of-16 at the San Diego Open. The Colombian, however, needed all her resources as she beat Magdalena Frech 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.

San Diego Open Karolina Pliskova Belinda Bencic