Karolina Pliskova def Nicole Gibbs 26 63 64
Casual obaservation: Karolina Pliskova looks exhausted. It was a slow start for the World #1 against former Stanford All-American Nicole Gibbs on Thursday. Pliskova opened with a hold, then lost five consecutive games before getting back on the board. While Gibbs was playing solid tennis, it felt like Pliskova’s lethargy was the most defining narrative of the set. In fact, last year’s Finalist gave up the second break on a double fault.
As the match lingered on, Pliskova began to rediscover the rhythm that propelled her to the Cincinnati Semis two weeks ago. Her serve regained it’s “pop,” her shoulders squared, and she put together three consecutive games to take set-2, leveling the match. After the second change over in set-3, Karolina broke Gibbs at love and on came the fist pumps. Fifteen minutes later, she was back in the 3rd Round.
Pliskova’s had a hell of year. She launched the season in Brisbane and won the title. During a rain-soaked Doha, she endured several two-a-days to pick-up her 8th career title. After a Semifinal run at Roland Garros, she earned her third title of the year in Eastbourne and became World #1 for the first time.
Last year, her road to the Final went through a top-6 Venus Williams and World #1 Serena Williams. As this year’s top-seed, if she goes deep, her toughest test will come in the Semifinals vs. World #4 Elina Svitolina.