Fri, Aug 11, 2017 - Page 16 News List

No. 1 Pliskova off to a rough start

Reuters, TORONTO and MONTREAL

Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan serves against Andreja Klepac and Mara Jos Martnez Snchez in their Rogers Cup match in Toronto, Canada, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Karolina Pliskova began her reign as world No. 1 with a ragged 6-3, 6-3 second-round win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on a blockbuster Wednesday when eight of the top 10 ranked players were in action at the Rogers Cup.

Pliskova, playing in her first tournament since her shocking second-round defeat at Wimbledon, struggled with a misfiring first serve and was guilty of some lapses in concentration.

However, the lanky Czech was never seriously threatened as she disposed her 19th-ranked Russian opponent in a tidy 70 minutes.

“I had a little bit [of nerves] before the match, but during the match I felt much better especially at the end,” Pliskova said. “I’m definitely happy I am through to the next round, the first match is always tough.”

A star-studded day on center court began with fourth-ranked Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza besting Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens 7-5, 6-2.

Second seed Simona Halep took care of surprise Wimbledon semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova with a relatively straightforward 6-3, 6-4 win, while third seed German Angelique Kerber outlasted Donna Vekic 6-4, 7-6(5).

American Venus Williams, playing in her first tournament since reaching the final at Wimbledon, again had to battle to advance as she defeated 21-year-old Katerina Siniakova 7-5, 7-5.

American teenager Catherine Bellis continued her brilliant form on the North American hard courts by taking down eighth seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 7-5 to reach the third round.

The 18-year-old arrived in Toronto after reaching the semi-finals in Stanford last week.

In doubles, No. 2 seeds Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan and Martina Hingis of Switzerland defeated Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain 6-1, 7-6(4) to move on to the quarter-finals.

In men’s singles, Roger Federer needed less than an hour to defeat Canadian Peter Polansky 6-2, 6-1 on Wednesday in his first appearance since winning a record eighth Wimbledon title last month a day after his 36th birthday.

Gael Monfils produced the comeback of the day to beat Kei Nishikori in three sets while Canada’s Denis Shapovalov enjoyed the biggest win of his young career by defeating hard-hitting Argentine Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 7-6(4).

Polansky never looked comfortable after he double faulted twice in his first service game and had difficulty handling Federer’s pinpoint serves.

Rafa Nadal enjoyed an easy rout of Croatia’s Borna Coric 6-1, 6-2 as he raced through the first set in just 29 minutes and did not face a break point until the 13th game.

Next, Nadal is to face the 18-year-old Shapovalov, who pumped his fists and rose his arms in triumph after dispatching the 2009 US Open champion, who struggled with the accuracy of his serve during big moments in the match.

A Del Potro double fault put Shapovalov up a break at 6-5 in the second set, but nerves appeared to get to the tournament wild card, who needed a tie-breaker to prevail.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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