No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova was the latest top women’s seed to get sent home from the French Open. Rolling in on a 7-match wins streak and an easy win in Miami over the Croatian, Pliskova was the favorite over No. 31 seed Petra Martic. But Martic took control early off the ground and never was trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 rout.
“The key was to focus on my game and try to dictate instead of letting her dictate, which is her biggest strength,” said Martic who broke Pliskova five times.
“I had to kind of try to take it away from her, and at times it was difficult, especially when she broke me and when she got a few winners, which she’s known for. I’m just happy that I managed in the end to hold my nerves and to finish it off.”
Pliskova follows exits by Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and Angelique Kerber. And after her Rome title, expectations were higher.
“Of course 6-3, 6-3 is not something I was hoping for today. I think she played well. For sure I could do better,” Pliskova said.
“Actually, I think the score was closer than it really was in the end, so I think I had some chances couple games, I should definitely not lose couple of serves in the first set when I was up in the games. She just made it difficult today for me.
“We played in Miami, so I think hard court is a little bit different to play her on hard court. I think it’s better for me. Obviously, she’s playing well this year, especially on clay. She won a title so she’s playing confident.”
Martic, who is into her third French Open fourth round, will now face Kaia Kanepi who downed Wozniacki-conqueror Veronika Kudermetova.
Also in that wide open section, Marketa Vondrousova ousted Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4, 6-4. Playing her first French fourth round, the teen will meet US Open semifinalist Anastasija Sevastova who saved five match points in a 3-hour, 18-minute, 6-7(3), 6-4, 11-9 thriller.
“I didn’t tell myself anything,” Sevastova said of saving those match points. “I said, just move your legs and try to hit first serve and play aggressive.
“In the end, we both didn’t deserve to lose, I think,” she added. “And in the end you think, was she a worse player? No. It was just a millimeter. It doesn’t make you a better or worse player. In the end, it’s a bit of luck. It paid off. Maybe next match it doesn’t pay off, but you have to go, and I went for it.”
The marquee match of the day was a butt-kicking as former champion Garbine Muguruza cruised past Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-3.
“I feel very good in this tournament,” said Muguruza who was 1-5 vs. Svitolina. “I have always loved it since I was a little girl. I also love the clay court. I don’t know what it is about French Open that gives me always, like, a nice mood and my tennis develops much better.”
Muguruza now gets Sloane Stephens on Sunday in a great fourth round collision. Stephens blew four match points in the second before eventually hanging on in three to put away Polona Hercog 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
Donna Vekic posted a strong win over Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-1. She’ll now face Johanna Konta who dominated Viktoria Kuzmova.
On Saturday, the big three of Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep return. Madison Keys, who finished off Priscilla Hon today, and 18-year-old Amanda Anisimova are also featured.
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