Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Another Pliskova dismisses young Aussie

Next on Hi Sense Arena was the more highly credentialed twin Pliskova, Karolina, seeded nine, and her prey today would be Aussie Kimberly Birrell.

No one expected anything but a straight sets victory for the Czech star and the first two games showed exactly that with a nervous drop of serve by Birrell followed by a competent hold by Pliskova.

Thankfully Birrell lifted her standard quickly and moving Pliskova around the court managed to find gaps to put her shots to advantage. She held serve and put a score on the board.

The next two games went to serve and Birrell looked good winning hers, highlighted with two off forehands, one a clean winner, the other setting up a winner from the net.  The Aussie has a fairly decent service action which should set her up for a good all round game as she improves through the years.

4-3 to Pliskova but still only the opening break, and Kimberly was almost matching the top ten player around the court. One had the feeling however that if the unforced errors off the Czech racquet were to be reduced then the match may be less close.

Birrell more than matched Pliskova in the eighth game with some down the line ground strokes contributing to a break back which was unforeseen.  However the pleasure derived from squaring the match was soon evaporated with a sloppy service game from the Aussie which gave a 5-4 lead to Karolina and the chance to serve out the set.

Although she had to fight for it, Pliskova managed to reach the finish line and win the first set 6-4.  The effort by Birrell was valiant.

The second set was only two games in and Kimberly had the crowd in raptures - after losing the closely fought opening stanza, the overwhelming thought was a one-sided finish to the match.  Only the young Aussie held and then broke the Czech serve to be 2-0 and brimming with confidence.  Could the ninth seed be in trouble ?

Reality soon stepped in and played its sensible role.  The break back was immediate if not definitive, and the remainder of the set was pretty much as the first with Pliskova doing just as much as she needed to take command.  The important points were won and a second break of the Birrell serve did occur.  

Pliskova did enough to win but would not want to relax in any glory over the victory.  6-4 6-4 was capable but only a part of the armory was employed today.

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