Second seed Karolina Pliskova came through her opener at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday. The Czech defeated qualifier Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 6-2 in 67 minutes to reach the quarter-finals. Pliskova hit 14 winners and had 10 unforced errors.
She also converted four of the seven break points she had on Mladenovic’s serve while facing none of her own. Speaking after her win, Pliskova said, “Overall I think I had it pretty much all the match under my control.
Even though she played some great shots, some good serves, I think I was in charge of most of the games. I like these conditions. I like to play in the sun. It’s a little bit faster, which is better”. This is the second time this season that Pliskova has won against Mladenovic.
The first was in the first round of the Australian Open. That time, too, Pliskova won in straight sets. Talking about the match-up itself, Pliskova said, “It’s always a tough one against her. We played in Australia, so I knew what to expect.
It was quite a solid first round. I think the score little bit is easier than it really was. I think we had couple tough games”. Pliskova will face the in-form Elena Rybakina in the last-eight. In the top half of the draw, top-seed Simona Halep needed three sets to vanquish the tough Ons Jabeur in their second-round meeting.
Halep dropped the opening set 6-1 but was regrouped thereafter in what was a zigzag ride, pocketing the match 1-6, 6-2, 7-6(7) in two hours. All of the match's twists came in the third set. Halep broke her opponent to start the set and built a 4-2 lead.
However, Jabeur broke back in the seventh game and consolidated the break back to level the set at four-all. Two games later, Halep was broken for the second time in the set. This gave Jabeur the chance to serve for the match at *6-5.
But Halep broke back to take the set into the tiebreak. A couple of mini-breaks helped the Romanian take the lead and at 6-4, gave her match points only for the Tunisian to save them both. Finally, there were no comebacks left in store for Jabeur as Halep took the set, and the match, 9-7 in the tiebreak.
The world no. 2 will play seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka in the quarter-finals. Photo Credit: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Twitter