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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Wimbledon 2021: Pliskova moves into last-16, Swiatek eases past Begu

Karolina Pliskova fell at the first hurdle in the tune-up tournaments in Berlin and Eastbourne last month but the 29-year-old has yet to drop a set at Wimbledon.

By: Reuters |
July 2, 2021 7:43:33 pm
Karolina Pliskova in action at the Wimbledon 2021. (Twitter/Wimbledon)

Eighth seed Karolina Pliskova beat Tereza Martincova 6-3, 6-3 in the battle of Czechs on Court Two to move into the last-16 at Wimbledon on Friday.

Former world number one Pliskova fell at the first hurdle in the tune-up tournaments in Berlin and Eastbourne last month but the 29-year-old has yet to drop a set at Wimbledon.

The last time the two met was in the first round of the US Open in 2019 and there was little to separate them, with Pliskova advancing only after winning tiebreaks in two sets.

Although Pliskova made 36 unforced errors and nine double faults, she fired 30 winners past her compatriot who struggled with her first serve and managed to convert only one break point opportunity.

While others usually opt for the cautious second serve, Pliskova’s high double fault count was a result of going for a strong second serve which has moved her to the top of the aces charts with 22 in the tournament.

Pliskova, who has reached at least the quarter-finals of every Grand Slam barring Wimbledon, will play either American Sloane Stephens or Russian wildcard Liudmila Samsonova in the next round.

Swiatek eyes dream double after crushing Begu

Only four women have won Wimbledon having also clinched the junior title, but Iga Swiatek is looking an increasingly good bet to add her name to that list after storming into the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Irina-Camelia Begu on Friday.

Former French Open champion Swiatek’s relentless pressure game crushed her Romanian opponent in a blink of an eye in a one-sided demolition on Court 12.

Poland’s Swiatek, seeded seven, suffocated her opponent from the start to reach the last 16 with her third straight-sets victory.

While she clinched the junior title at the All England Club in 2018, she arrived at Wimbledon this year having previously won only one senior match on grass, but now looks very much at home on the slick lawns.

So much so, that it now seems a realistic possibility that she could join Ann Jones (1956), Karen Hantze (1960), Martina Hingis (1994) and Amelie Mauresmo (1996) by backing up her junior title with the real deal.

Not that she is letting that distract her.

The 20-year-old, who won the Roland Garros title in 2020, dropped only eight points on serve against Begu and half of them came in just one game.

She broke her opponent twice to race into a 5-0 lead, before Begu finally held serve, and then showed some grit to go with the punishing consistency of her groundstrokes when she saved three break points to hold and take the first set.

The second set was even more one-sided as Swiatek swept away the dying embers of Begu’s resistance to romp into the next round.

Next up for Swiatek will be an encounter with former champion Garbine Muguruza or Tunisian Ons Jabeur.

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