Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Pliskova wins Czech battle with Strycova 

A battle of two fine Czech players was the final night match on RLA on the second Monday of the 2018 Aus Open.

Karolina Pliskova (6), one of the favourites in the tournament, against Barbora Strycova (20) one of the most improved performers on tour, a consistent ranking of around 16-25 over the last few years.

The opening game was long - three deuces and a break point saved before Pliskova had enough and hit two winners to hold serve and lead 1-0.

The next two games were comfortable for servers, but Strycova struck difficulty in the fourth game.

Two double faults were responsible for creating two of four break points, all of which were saved, and serve was held. 2-2.

At 4-4 Pliskova saved a break point and from there it was guaranteed a tie break.

Pliskova won the first point but Strycova the next four.

The sixth seed fought back to 5-6 and with serve, but hit a loose backhand to give the set to Strycova 7-6(5).

Pliskova broke in the first game of set two, then held for 2-0.

In the fifth game Strycova saved three break points but was eventually broken and trailed 4-1.

Strycova retrieved one of the breaks and it was 2-4.

A service hold closed the gap to 3-4, and Pliskova had to save a break point to move to 5-3 and a game away from squaring the match.

A Pliskova forehand winner converted a set point on Strycova’s serve and it was even at 6-7(5) 6-3.

The two exchanged breaks of serve and were 1-1 in the decider.

Pliskova held to love then broke for 3-1.

4-2 with two holds of serve.

Pliskova won her next service game, including a couple of vital winners.

Strycova needed to hold service to stay in the match.

The third set point of a game lasting 16 points and five deuces was enough for Pliskova to use and win the set and match 6-7(5) 6-3 6-2.

She will now play world number one Simona Halep in a quarter final.

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