Sun, Mar 12, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Pliskova battles back to beat Puig at Indian Wells


Monica Puig returns to Karolina Pliskova at the BNP Paribas tournament in Indian Wells, California, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova battled back to beat Olympic champion Monica Puig 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Friday, but said that she would have to do better to go further at Indian Wells.

“I don’t even think I deserved to win tonight,” third-seeded Czech Pliskova said after recovering from a break down in the third set to reach the third round.

Puig, ranked 43rd in the world, had never taken a set off Pliskova in three prior meetings.

However, she was on fire from the baseline early, breaking the big-serving Czech four times in the opening set.

Pliskova was in trouble again in the decisive set, down one break at 0-3, but won six of the final seven games to advance, despite 34 unforced errors to just 19 winners.

“Hopefully I can get something from it and move on and play better next time,” said Pliskova, who is aiming to improve on her semi-final run at Indian Wells last year.

In other second-round matches, 17-year-old American Kayla Day shocked Australian Open semi-finalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to earn a clash with French Open champion Garbine Muguruza.

Day outlasted the 35-year-old Lucic-Baroni 6-4, 5-7, 7-5, rallying from a break down in the third to advance.

Lucic-Baroni served for the match in the final set, but the young American kept her nerve.

“It was a really close match throughout the entire match,” Day said. “I think I started to really believe I could win at 6-5 in the third. It was still a really tough game, because I was a little bit tight to close it out, but my serve had been giving her a lot of problems, so I knew if I stuck to my game it might work out.”

Day was looking forward to the challenge offered by seventh-seeded Muguruza, a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Belgian veteran Kirsten Flipkens.

Johanna Konta beat Heather Watson 6-4, 6-4.

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