Kristyna Pliskova upset No.2 seed Julia Goerges to open her campaign at the Nurnberger Versicherungscup. The German saved a match point in the second set but managed only to delay the 6-2, 6-7(8), 7-6(5) defeat against the world No.71.
Despite 12 aces, Goerges lost 8 of the 11 close games and surrenderred to the eighth defeat in the last ten matches against a lefty opponent. “It was really tough, I mean Julia was serving so good in the final two sets,” said Pliskova, who extended to 7-2 her tiebreak record in 2018.
“I was a break up in the second set and also had match point, so it was really tough mentally to ‘forget’ the second and start new in the third.” Pliskova had beaten Goerges in their only previous encounter, 7-6(4), 6-1 in the first round of the US Open in 2012, and collected one of her best wins of the season by ranking after she defeated No.10-ranked Petra Kvitova in Charleston and No.7 Jelena Ostapenko in Shenzhen.
Pliskova, third on tour with 172 aces served, will take on Lara Arruabarrena who beat her in Paris on hardcourts in 2013. “I think it will be a totally different match against Arruabarrena, because she’s not serving as big as Julia,” Pliskova said.
“I think I will have more opportunities on her serve, but also she’s running better and she’s putting more balls back. So it’ll be a tough match.” Charleston champion and Madrid finalist Kiki Bertens completed the 13th win in a row in Nurnberg as she dispatched Dejana Radovanovic, who was making her WTA main draw debut and facing a top 100 for the first time, 6-1 6-1.
In 2016 her title run here started a 13-match winning streak that also included a Roland Garros semifinal showing, and kicked off her ascent towards the Top 20. The Dutch No.1, two-time defending champion here, will face Carina Witthoeft or Mona Barthel whose match has been interrupted has the rain came with Barthel leading 7-5.
Barthel had the head-to-head advantage, having won in Stüttgart qualifying in 2010 and the first round of Luxembourg in 2016 while Witthoeft took their most recent clay encounter, in the first round of Stüttgart in 2015.
No.4 seed Zhang Shuai falling 6-2, 6-2 against qualifier Fanny Stollar, who won seven of eight close games and didn't face a breakpoint throughout the match. Johanna Larsson moved on against No.5 seed Irina-Camelia Begu, who retired with a left leg injury at 6-4, 3-3.
The Swede will face Christina McHale for the first time having lost both the previous clashes in straight sets. Alison Riske defeated 6-1 7-6 qualifier Mandy Minella who came through WTA qualifying for the first time since her return from maternity leave in February.
The former world No.66 who defeated World No.102 Denisa Allertova en route, now owns a 14-9 record this season. Riske extended to 2-0 her lead in the head to head having defeated her opponent 6-2, 6-2 in the second round of the ITF $25,000 event in Rancho Mirage in 2010.
Nadia Podoroska qualified for her first WTA main draw since Bucharest last year and returned to shine as she beat fellow qualifier Kristina Kucova 6-2, 6-3. The Argentine climbed into the Top 200 as she qualified for the 2016 US Open but a streak of injuries kept her sidelined eight months from July last year.