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31.05.2019 Tennis

Martic shocks Pliskova to reach last 16 at French Open

By Paul Myers - RFI
REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
MAY 31, 2019 TENNIS

Petra Martic created the shock of the day when she dispatched the second seed Karolina Pliskova in straight sets. Martic, the 31st seed  won 6-3, 6-3 to reach the last 16 for the second time in three years and blow the bottom half of the draw wide open.

Pliskova entered the tournament as one of the contenders after having lifted the Italian Open crown in the prelude to the French Open.

But she was unable to deal with Martic's variation. “She was serving well. She just sometimes went for her shots and then she was patient,” said Pliskova. "I think I just didn't play that well. Maybe I was a little bit, at some points, passive and maybe not that fast. My serve wasn't really working. I don't think she did much wrong. I think she played clever.”

The victory on centre court was Martic's fourth over Pliskova in five meetings since their first encounter as teenagers in a clay court tournament in the Czech Republic. Martic won the match in straight sets too.

Martic, 28, said the key to the third round victory was to wrest the initiative from Pliskova. “I was trying to dictate instead of letting her dictate, which is her biggest strength," the Croatian explained. "I was trying to take it away from and at times it was difficult.”

She added: “I don't really like to play her as she's such a great player. I don't know if she likes to play me. Doesn't seem that way so far.”

Elsewhere in the women's draw, the 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza progressed with an impressive 6-3, 6-3 win over the eighth seed Elina Svitolina. Last year's semi finalist Madison Keys also advanced to the last 16 along wih the 12th seed Anastasija Sevastova.