Pliskova, Kerber set up battle of ex-No. 1's in Dubai

AFP
FORMER top-ranked players Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber advanced to set up a battle of ex-No. 1's in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championships yesterday.
AFP

FORMER top-ranked players Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber advanced to set up a battle of ex-No. 1’s in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championships yesterday.

Czech Pliskova, the third seed, beat Carla Suarez Navarro 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, while Germany’s Kerber dispatched Italian qualifier Sara Errani 6-4, 6-2.

Kerber, who won the Sydney title in January before reaching the Australian Open semifinals, leads the series 6-3, winning their last two matches.

“It was a tricky match, especially because she was playing well,” Kerber said after taking the win over Errani on a secondary showcourt at the Aviation Club. “I don’t care which court I play on. It’s always important now to win the matches and focus more on my opponent, on my game, on the next round.”

The 30-year-old needed 64 minutes and five breaks of serve to take victory.

Pliskova, who headed the rankings from mid-July to mid-September, needed a fightback against Suarez Navarro after losing the opening set to her 27th-ranked opponent from Spain’s Canary Islands.

The Czech won the second set and survived a run of three consecutive breaks of serve in the third, taking a 4-3 lead over Suarez Navarro.

Pliskova reached 5-3 and served out the fighting win two games later in just over two hours.

“I was not playing the best tennis today, we were both a little bit struggling,” Pliskova said after finishing with 11 aces, six double-faults and losing her serve five times.

Japan’s Naomi Osaka beat Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2, 7-6 (5), while Russian Elena Vesnina upset French Open champion and fourth seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 6-1, 7-6 (6).

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