Karolina Pliskova will reach No. 1 someday, and after a loss Thursday at the All-England Club it could still be during this Wimbledon fortnight.
The No. 3-seeded Czech was bounced from the All-England Club by unseeded Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.
“For me the tournament is over,” said Pliskova, who will rise to No. 1 if Simona Halep doesn’t reach the semifinals or Angie Kerber doesn’t reach the final. “I’m not going to pray for someone losing or winning. I’m just going to take off and wait. I have a lot of time to prepare till my next tournament in Toronto. I will make sure I prepare well, but for me now it’s vacation time.”
The current world No. 1, Angie Kerber, did not inspire in a 7-5, 7-5 win over Belgian Kirsten Flipkens.
“It wasn’t an easy match and for sure it wasn’t the best tennis I’ve ever played,” Kerber said. “Kirsten is always tough to play on grass with the slice. I couldn’t find my rhythm in the first few games. I was fighting for every point and that was the key at the end.”
Other Top 10 winners Thursday were No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki who beat grasscourt maven Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3, 6-4; No. 7 Svetlana Kuznetsova who bageled fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 7-5; and No. 9 Agnieszka Radwanska who escaped with a 5-7, 7-6(7), 6-3 victory against American Christina McHale, fighting off two match points.
Also into round three were lower seeds No. 14 Garbine Muguruza Blanco, No. 19 Timea Bacsinszky, and No. 24 CoCo Vandeweghe, all in straight sets.
American Alison Riske recorded the second-biggest upset of the day, shocking one of the hottest players on tour, No. 12 Kristina Mladenovic 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Other upset winners were Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit topping No. 29 Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-2, and American Shelby Rogers downing No. 32 Lucie Safarova 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3.
Mladenovic was not happy with the conditions after falling to Riske.
“I think you can all pretty much see,” she told the media. “First of all, the color of the court, the fact that there’s no more grass, the fact that the baseline where we are running, it’s very slippery. There’s no grass. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not even clay. So it makes it tough to put your strong footwork. You kind of have to run light and be careful, I don’t know, not to push or press too much, too hard, which is strange to play on. I’m just honestly very happy and blessed that I didn’t injure myself that much.”
Tragedy reverberated through the women’s field when American Bethanie Mattek-Sands tumbled to the turf with a screamingly-painful knee injury that saw her carried off the court on a stretcher in the third set of her match with Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.
“It’s not easy because at the end of the day it’s not about tennis any more,” said Cirstea, who a screaming Mattek-Sands begged for help on court before the medical team arrived. “We are like a family. You want everyone to be OK. It doesn’t matter you win, you lose, once you are out, you want them to be OK. So, yeah, I hope is not as bad that it seemed, and she can have a quick, quick recovery. I’m very sad about everything that happened.”
Highlights of Friday play at Wimbledon include former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka vs. (WC) Heather Watson, (10) Venus Williams vs. Naomi Osaka, (2) Simona Halep vs. Shuai Peng, (4) Elina Svitolina vs. Carina Witthoeft, and (8) Dominika Cibulkova vs. (27) Ana Konjuh.
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