MONTREAL― World number one Iga Swiatek overcame an early test before running away with a 7-6(6) 6-2 victory over Czech Karolina Pliskova in Montreal to reach the third round of the Canadian Open.
Swiatek was locked in a battle early against former world number one Pliskova but managed to stay in the match by winning most of the long rallies while displaying both a lethal forehand and solid court coverage.
“This first match was a challenge, it’s always a challenge especially against a player like that,” Swiatek said during her on-court interview.
“She for sure used her experience in the first set, but I am happy that I could close it in a tiebreak, and in the second set I was more solid because I really wanted to reset, think about what I could do better and I am pretty glad that I did that.”
Swiatek faced plenty of resistance from Pliskova in the hour-long first set but managed to come back from 5-4 down to force a tiebreaker where she again had to come from behind before sealing it when the Czech sent a forehand wide.
In the second set, Swiatek found a new gear and followed an early break with a hold to love to grab control and never looked back as her mix of power and control proved to much for Pliskova to overcome.
While serving for the match, Swiatek handed a break to Pliskova with her first double fault of the set, but the Pole immediately broke back in the next game to seal the win.
Up next for four-time Grand Slam champion Swiatek, who will launch the defence of her US Open title later this month, will be Karolina Muchova, who she beat in this year’s French Open final.
Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova ended Caroline Wozniacki’s first tournament back after a more than three-year break from competitive tennis with a 6-2 7-5 victory to reach the third round.
Vondrousova used her lefty topspin forehand and well-disguised drop shot to run Wozniacki around the court and capture the first set.
It looked like Vondrousova would make quick work of the Dane in the second set when she jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but back-to-back double faults presented Wozniacki with a break opportunity, which she converted for 3-1.
Wozniacki rode that momentum to win the next three games, capped by an epic 13-minute seventh game, for a 4-3 advantage.
An increasingly frustrated Vondrousova stopped the bleeding with an unreturnable serve to level at 4-4.
The ninth-seeded Czech sealed a love hold with an ace for 5-5 before a Wozniacki backhand error put her on the doorstep at 6-5.
Vondrousova claimed her ninth consecutive win with a pinpoint serve out wide on match point that Wozniacki could only flail at to set up a clash with American teenager Coco Gauff, who won their only previous meeting.
Wozniacki, a former world number one Grand Slam champion who retired in 2020 to start a family, was ultimately undone by 41 unforced errors under sunny skies in Montreal.
Among other seeded players in early action, Jessica Pegula, Gauff and Liudmila Samsonova enjoyed straight-set victories to reach the third round while Belinda Bencic advanced with a 6-3 5-7 6-4 win over Alycia Parks.
Third seed Elena Rybakina completed her rain-interrupted match, which began on Tuesday night, with a 6-7(3) 7-6(5) 6-3 win over American Jennifer Brady on Wednesday.