WTA US Open: Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Keys top rivals and rain


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WTA US Open: Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Keys top rivals and rain

The 3rd seed Karolina Pliskova has been one of the players to beat at the US Open in the last three years, standing among the favorites in 2019 as well after a 6-1, 6-4 triumph over a qualifier Mariam Bolkvadze in 66 minutes.

In the first round, Karolina struggled against the fellow Czech Tereza Martincova but that wasn't the case against the Georgian under the roof of the Arthur Ashe Stadium, hitting 19 winners and 16 unforced errors and dropping only nine points behind the initial shot.

Bolkvadze broke once but needed more to stay competitive, spraying almost 30 unforced errors and giving serve away four times from nine opportunities offered to Karolina. Barely putting a foot wrong, Pliskova claimed the opener 6-1 in just over 20 minutes, serving well and delivering breaks in games four and six to rattle off five straight games and gain massive momentum.

Despite that break she suffered in the fourth game of the second set, Pliskova stole the rival's serve twice to control the scoreboard and move over the top with an excellent hold in game ten, advancing into the third round for the fifth time.

The 5th seed Elina Svitolina is through to the third round in New York for the fifth straight year, ousting Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 52 minutes of an epic battle. The Ukrainian converted four out of 17 break chances, suffering two breaks and overcoming the second set deficit to seal the deal in straight sets and advance into the last 32 without spending more time on the court.

They both had more unforced errors than winners although it was an entertaining clash full of great points, with the American veteran giving her best to stay in touch and prolong her 21st US Open campaign. Elina grabbed commanding breaks in games one and seven to open up a 5-2 lead, getting broken while serving for the set in game eight and squandering three set points on the return in the next game before closing it on own serve for a 6-4.

Venus broke in the second game of the second set and survived a challenging next game to build the advantage before Svitolina took charge, rattling off five straight games and creating five match points on the return in game nine.

Venus managed to take them down and bring the game home before Elina moved over the top with a hold at 5-4 that propelled her into the third round. Just like the Ukrainian, the 10th seed Madison Keys is in the last 32 for the fifth year in a row in New York, beating Lin Zhu 6-4, 6-1 in 69 minutes, firing 31 winners and dominating on the return to sail through the encounter and stay on the title course.

Madison lost serve twice but that was never a problem, stealing 56% of the points in Zhu's games and earning five breaks that pushed her over the top. The Chinese was 3-1 in front in the opening set before the American took charge, winning five of the next six games for a 6-4 thanks to commanding breaks in games six and ten.

With the momentum on her side, Keys marched through set number two with three straight breaks, holding at 15 at 5-1 to book the place in the third round and give the home crowd something to cheer about.