Karolina Pliskova began her quest for the number one ranking on a positive start as she breezed past a tricky opponent in Evgeniya Rodina in the opening round of the Wimbledon Championships, triumphing in straight sets after just 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Pliskova strolls to win the first set
A solid start for Pliskova saw her lead 40-0 in her opening service game as she looked on course for a comfortable service hold. However, some errors saw Rodina fight back and earn a break point out of nowhere, getting the golden opportunity to snatch the early lead. Nevertheless, Pliskova fended off that break point with a wonderful backhand down-the-line winner and eventually held onto her service game, suffering a huge scare in the process. Rodina’s opening service game was not much easier as she faced a couple of break points after Pliskova managed to blast powerful winners past her, but stood firm and dared to challenge the Czech during groundstroke rallies, which proved effective as the Russian saved a total of three break points to hold serve and level the scores.
An important forehand winner at the pivotal 30-30 point in the third game saw Pliskova hold serve without allowing her opponent to get to deuce, remaining on serve in the match. Rodina looked on course for another service hold at 40-30 up, but Pliskova fought her way back and finally earned the first breakthrough of the set as she took the first break of serve and opened up a 3-1 lead on the scoreboard after 22 minutes of play. The Czech then easily consolidated the break of serve for a three-game advantage as she seemed to be cruising through the match now, with Rodina losing her momentum and rhythm as the deficit gets larger. Pliskova was just playing too good as she was excelling in her return game and her net game, which helped her to break serve for the second consecutive time as she owned a formidable 5-1 lead, being just a game away from clinching the opening set. Hitting an unbelievable number of 23 winners and just five unforced errors within 34 minutes of play, Pliskova eventually sealed the first set 6-1.
Pliskova survives tough second set to get the win
Pliskova started the second set the best way possible as she eked out a service break in the opening game, opening up a lead of a set and a break after playing some confident tennis. Unexpectedly, Rodina came up with some inspired tennis of her own as she broke straight back to level the match, forcing errors out of the hard-hitting Pliskova. However, the Czech regained the lead after she prevailed in a tough return game, saving three game points to break serve for the fourth time in the match. Pliskova then comfortably consolidated the break to open up a 3-1 lead in the second set, and edged closer to get the win.
Earning a tight service hold as Rodina got to deuce, Pliskova held onto her lead as she came up with big serves on the crucial points. Rodina kept applying pressure on the Czech as she was able to hold her serve easily, lessening the deficit to just one game. After some exchanges of service holds, Pliskova found herself serving for the match at 5-4 as Rodina was still unable to find a breakthrough, and looked to have the win being within her reach. Not disappointing her fans, Pliskova eventually held her serve to love as she successfully served out the match without facing any problems.
Match Stats: Pliskova on fire
Pliskova was just in destruction mode as she blasted 35 winners past Rodina within just 70 minutes, averaging a winner every two minutes. The Czech was also very consistent, hitting just 13 unforced errors throughout the encounter. Although Rodina hit one less unforced error, she only managed to fire 13 winners as Pliskova was the clear aggressor on the court, powering her way to victory after also winning 69 percent of her first serve points and 61 percent of points off her second serves. Rodina was particularly disappointing on her second serve, winning just four points off it.