Australian Open: Karolina Pliskova's Down Under surge continues; Muguruza wins

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Australian Open: Karolina Pliskova's Down Under surge continues; Muguruza wins
Australian Open: Karolina Pliskova's Down Under surge continues; Muguruza wins

Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza’s Runs Continue Second seed Karolina Pliskova was slow to start proceedings against Laura Siegemund in their round-of-64 match. However, even as the German lost momentum midway in the first set, Pliskova made the most of it to take a 6-3, 6-3 win in the end in 86 minutes.

Pliskova won a total of 69 points in the match, of which 22 were winners and 24 came in the form of Siegemund’s unforced errors. One of the keys to Pliskova’s win was her wide serve. The 2019 semi-finalist used it as a potent weapon of choice to not only draw out the return errors from her opponent but also used it to save a break point, in her penultimate service game of the second set.

The 27-year-old is now 6-0 so far this year, with a title – at the Brisbane International – under her belt. She awaits the winner of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Taylor Townsend in the third round. Garbine Muguruza survived Ajla Tomljanovic in their second-round match on Thursday to book a place in the round-of-32 at the Australian Open.

Opening the day session at the Rod Laver Arena, the Spaniard won 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 21 minutes. All of Muguruza’s statistics for the match were impressive. However, the 2017 quarter-finalist stood especially tall at the net, winning 24 of the 28 net points played.

In comparison, Tomljanovic who came to the net 13 times, won eight of these points. Muguruza finished the match with 34 winners to the Australian’s 24 and had just two more unforced errors than her opponent – 39 to 37.

Since Conchita Martinez re-joined Muguruza’s coaching team at the end of the 2019 season, Muguruza has been brimming with renewed confidence. However, the 26-year-old introspected after her win that her success in the season would not only depend on having her coach by her side but also on hard work.

The world no. 32 awaits either fifth seed Elina Svitolina or Lauren Davis in the next match. Among the other results of the day, sixth seed Belinda Bencic overcame a tussle of inconsistency against Jelena Ostapenko to reach the next round.

The Swiss No. 1 won 7-5, 7-5 in an hour and 41 minutes. Bencic will play either Sara Sorribes Tormo or the 28th seed Anett Kontaveit in the third round. Nineteenth seed Donna Vekic who, after her opening-round win against Maria Sharapova, had said she wanted to go beyond the second round at Melbourne Park fulfilled her expectation.

The Croatian won against Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-2 to reach the third round of the Australian Open for the first time in eight appearances. The matchwinner between Iga Swiatek and Carla Suarez Navarro will be Vekic’s next opponent.

Cici Bellis's bullish return to the Tour continued as she upset the 20th seed Karolina Muchova in their round-of-64 clash. The American won in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. Zarina Diyas, meanwhile, made a comeback against Anna Blinkova to win their second-round match 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Seventeenth seed and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber defeated Australian wildcard Patricia Hon 6-3, 6-2 to reach the third round as well. Ninth seed Kiki Bertens made it past Hon's fellow Australian and wildcard holder, Arina Rodionova 6-2, 7-5 in an hour and 26 minutes.
Photo Credit: Aus Open Twitter

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