Pliskova on track to defend Cincinnati title, Venus out
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[August 17, 2017]
(Reuters) - Karolina Pliskova
celebrated her return to the tournament that helped launch her rise
to world number one with a 6-2 6-3 win over Russian Natalia
Vikhlyantseva in the second round of the Cincinnati Open on
Two celebrated seeds fell, with number three Angelique Kerber and
ninth-seeded Venus Williams upset in three-setters, disrupting their
U.S. Open preparations.
Kerber lost 6-4 1-6 7-6(11) to Russian Ekaterina Makarova, while
Williams was upset 6-3 2-6 6-2 by Australian qualifier Ashleigh
Barty in second-round matches.
Barty will face former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, a 6-2
6-4 winner against Russia's Elena Vesnina, in the last 16.
Top seed Pliskova rose to the occasion on the key points.
She saved all five break points she faced, while losing just three
points behind her first serve against the Russian, who reached her
first WTA final at Den Bosch in June.
Last year Pliskova beat Kerber in the Cincinnati final, stopping the
German from ascending to number one with the biggest victory of her
career up to then.
Pliskova went on to have a brilliant Flushing Meadows run, beating
both Venus and Serena Williams on the way to the final, sparking a
consistent stretch that helped her succeed Kerber atop the rankings
Next up for the 25-year-old Czech is a third-round
match against Italian Camila Giorgi, who beat Australian Daria
Gavrilova 7-6(1) 5-7 6-3.
[to top of second column]
Karolína Pliskova (CZE) returns a shot against Natalia Vikhlyantseva
(RUS) during the Western and Southern Open at the Lindner Family
Tennis Center. Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
American 16th seed Madison Keys beat Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-1
to reach the last 16, where she will face Wimbledon champion Garbine
Muguruza of Spain.
For the second week in a row, American Sloane Stephens defeated 14th
seed Petra Kvitova, who was bothered by pain in her right thigh, to
reach the third round with a 6-2 6-3 win.
Stephens, sidelined almost a year due to a foot injury before
returning at Wimbledon, beat Kvitova last week in three sets in
Toronto on her way to the semi-finals.
Up next for Stephens will be the on-form Makarova.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto and Larry Fine in Tampa;
Editing by Toby Davis/Peter Rutherford)
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