Thursday, 19 January 2017

Karolina Pliskova awesome

Karolina Pliskova did not waste much in reaching her second round encounter which was scheduled first up on Margaret Court Arena Day Four of Aus Open 2017.
My pick for this year's title would need to manoeuvre past Russian Anna Blinkova to join others in the third round, including her twin sister Kristyna.

An unfortunate surname because with the form Karolina has been displaying, one blink and this could be over.  Only two games were surrendered by the Czech serving machine when dispensing with first round victim Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Blinkova had a good win over Niculescu in the first round, Niculescu having played well in Hobart last week.

Pliskova broke immediately, courtesy of a couple of clean winners and some untidiness from Blinkova.  A big forehand from Blinkova forced an error off the Czech racquet but a big serve was the direct response.  A fairly scrappy service game ended in style with a lovely passing shot for a 2-0 lead.

Three break points arose through sloppy shot making from the Russian, but equally poor strokes from a less than focussed Pliskova and a backhand winner from Blinkova brought it back to deuce.
A winning forehand from Pliskova created a fourth break opportunity and sadly a double fault confirmed the 3-0 lead for the fifth seed.

Two aces highlighted a quality service game more typical of the Pliskova we know and she led 4-0.  Then from 40-15 Blinkova managed to lose serve again, a double fault and a Pliskova winner contributing to the reversal of fortune. 5-0.

The loss of the first point sprung Karolina into action and she took balls from both sides, off the ground, out of the air, from anywhere you choose.  The set was sealed with an ace, as appropriate, and half the match was finished 6-0.

Quickly Pliskova was halfway there again with two more breaks of the helpless Russians serve, hitting a few glorious winners into the tiniest corners and precariously close to lines, but also benefitting from the frustration of Blinkova, manifested in a growing error count, forced and unforced.  3-0.

To her credit, Blinkova forced Pliskova to deuce on the Second Czech serve for the set, but as sure as the sun rising, serve was held.  As it was for Anna Blinkova in the next game to her delight, and to the cheers of those assembled.  First game for the match.
4-1 Pliskova.

Taken to deuce again, this could aptly be termed Pliskova's flat spot for the match.  Her concentration lapse extended with another poor shot, this one long, and a break point needed to be addressed.  And so it was, in business like fashion.
Blinkova was throwing caution to the wind, delivering some wonderful winners, but the next deuce was answered with the serve - twice.  A sure fire way to put a game beyond doubt.

1-5 but no sign of retreating from what she had been doing for the last handful of games for Anna.  Continuing to attack she easily held serve and now had at least two games to take out of this match, plus the positives gained from matching it with the fifth seed for the last 4-5 games.

But in the big picture nothing was going to stop Karolina Pliskova today, and she advanced to the third round 6-0 6-2.

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