No.6 seed Karolina Pliskova came from a set down to win over tournament debutante Coco Gauff 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the opener of the Mutua Madrid Open. “We never played so it was definitely a difficult match. I think I didn’t start really well, but later in the match, I was finding my game and finding my serve. This was very important in this match because she can also serve very big,” Pliskova said in her on-court interview.
Understandably, Pliskova is looking to improve her game in the next round. “I’m super happy that I’m through. I’ve played one semifinal here, so I’ve had a couple of good matches here in the past, but I’m hoping to hopefully improve my game in the next match,” she added.
After a slow start, she was broken three times to fall a set behind. Buoyed by the first set victory, Gauff started the dominant of the two in the second set. The Czech tennis player, however, rose to the level required to save breakpoints in the first game and at 2-2 to stay in the match. A break in the sixth game helped Pliskova bag the set 6-3.
The American did start the decider on the front foot, but Pliskova got her rhythm back. The Czech player stormed her way through to clinch the final set and the match in style. She will next face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who had beaten Madison Keys 7-5, 6-2.
Meanwhile, No.11 seed Jennifer Brady registered her first victory since February’s Australian Open by defeating wildcard Venus Williams 6-2, 6-4. “I was really excited to play Venus.” Brady said.
“She’s such a legend of our sport, and when I saw the draw came out, I was like, ‘Okay, that’s awesome. What a great opportunity to play such a legend.’ I battled and it wasn’t easy, but I’m happy that I came out with a win.”
From trailing 2-1 down in the opener, Brady won five successive games to take the first set. Williams broke her in the second set at 1-1. However, the 26-year-old American fought back from 3-1 down to bag the set and the match.
Brady will next take on former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko in the second round after the Latvian registered a 6-3, 6-1 win over Slovenian lucky loser Polona Hercog.