(August 9, 2017) TORONTO, CANADA – Karolina Pliskova won her first match as the new No. 1 on the WTA Tour, beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-3 in her first match at Rogers cup in Toronto.
Asked about how she felt and what she was thinking, knowing the was her first match in the top spot the Czech said: “No, not at all. And I was not really thinking about this.
“But, yeah, after a while a match again, so was not the best. And I think some moments were okay, but otherwise the serve was not great and overall I was not real happy with my game today. But was enough and so another chance tomorrow to improve.”
“I had a little bit (of nerves) before my match because I really wanted to win this one, and then also I knew I have the good record against her. So I just knew if I play solid and okay I can win it.”
So, has life changed for Pliskova since reaching the top? “Didn’t change at all,” she said. “So everything still the same. Still going out for practices and still want to win every match.
“So maybe the pressure is a little bit bigger, but that’s normal, you know. So just counting with that and nothing has changed.”
Venus Williams toughed out a 7-5, 7-5 win over Katerina Siniakova to reach the third round. This snapped the six-match winning streak of the recent Swedish Open champion. This sets up a clash with No. 5 Elina Svitolina.
“I haven’t played her in ages, so we’ll see how that works out,” noted the ninth-seeded Williams. “I mean, she’s had a great season I think as well. She’s had some wins. I don’t really keep up with everything everyone else is doing, but I think she’s been playing well.
“So I’m sure she’ll be confident in the match, and I should be fairly confident too.”
This was just Williams’ second match victory in Toronto, her first came on Monday night.
“It was well-earned. I had to wait a long time for win No. 2,” she said. “So I would like to build on that to win No. 3.”
No. 2 Simona Halep started her title defense by defeating Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-4.
Despite the win, she was not pleased with her play. “I think the whole match was a little bit with the feeling of frustration because she was breaking the rhythm a lot. It’s her style and is not easy to play against her. She’s a very tough opponent.
“So, yeah, I just tried to stay focused. I missed a few easy balls in the second set. I got a little bit upset. But I stayed, in my opinion, very positive and I was still fighting for every ball.
“I think it was a good level of tennis and also good win for me for the first match here was a tough one.”
Wimbledon champion and fourth seed Garbine Muguruza advanced with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Kirsten Flipkens. She’ll face qualifier Ashleigh Barty, who upset 16th seed Elena Vesnina 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. This is Muguruza first time playing in Toronto.
One of the upsets of the day went to American youngster CiCi Bellis, who surprised No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 7-5.
Sixth seed Caroline Wozniacki had no problems with Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia 6-3, 6-0.
The No. 36 player in the world knocked out two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova last week to reach the semifinals in Stanford at the Bank of the West Classic.
This is the 18-year-old American’s second win over a Top 10 player. “I think I played really well today,” Bellis said. “Obviously I told myself I had to because she’s unbelievable.”
Bellis wasn’t the only youngster with an upset, another teen Naomi Osaka defeated the No. 15 seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-4.
In a battle between two women making comebacks, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova lost to Sloane Stephens 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-2. This is just Stephens’ third tournament back from a foot injury that sidelined her for eleven months.
Kvitova is back on tour since the French Open after being attacked in her home, suffering major injuries to her left hand.
Stephens will play No. 3 seed Angelique Kerber who beat Donna Vekic in the last match of the night session 6-4, 7-6(5).
The comeback upset of Wednesday came when Ekaterina Makarova saved two match points in the second set to topple No. 7 seed Johanna Konta 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3.
Makarova, who is coming off winning Citi Open this past weekend will take on Lucie Safarova next. Safarova stunned No. 11 seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-4.
More to follow…