Second-seeded Karolina Pliskova struggled to beat Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-2 in the first round of the Madrid Open on Saturday. Pliskova was up 5-2 in the first set but Tsurenko fought back to force a tiebreaker that Pliskova won by hitting two of her five aces.
Tsurenko recovered from a break down to claim the second set, but Pliskova broke her three times in the decisive third set.
“I’m not really happy with the way how I was playing,” Pliskova said. “Definitely the best was the third set. I was playing more aggressive. Otherwise, I was losing all the long rallies. It was tough.”
The Czech has won titles this year at Doha and Brisbane, giving Pliskova eight for her career.
Also, Misaki Doi of Japan beat ninth-seeded Madison Keys of the U.S. 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, Eugenie Bouchard beat Alize Cornet of France 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, and Roberta Vinci saw off Daria Kasatkina 6-1, 1-6, 6-1.
Other first-round winners included Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania, Alison Risk of the U.S., and Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.
On Sunday, top-seeded Angelique Kerber, Maria Sharapova, and Gabrine Muguruza all play first-round matches.