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Third seed Karolina Pliskova suffers shock early Wimbledon defeat

July 6, 2017 5:32 PM
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Title favourite Karolina Pliskova crashed out of Wimbledon in the second round to Magdalena Rybarikova.

Pliskova was strongly favoured but bowed out a day after two-time champion Petra Kvitova’s exit, leaving what was already an unpredictable tournament wide open.

The world number three looked to be cruising at a set and a break up but grew increasingly frustrated and error-prone in a 3-6 7-5 6-2 defeat.

Pliskova has never been beyond the second round at Wimbledon, losing at this stage for the last four years.

But, since a defeat by Misaki Doi at the same stage last year, Pliskova has transformed herself into a serial grand slam challenger.

She beat both Venus and Serena Williams on her way to the final of the US Open last year before losing to Angelique Kerber, and has since made the quarter-finals in Australia and semi-finals in Paris.

It is surely only a matter of time before the 25-year-old wins a grand slam title, but that will not be here this fortnight.

All looked smooth sailing for Pliskova, who sits at the top of the standings for 2017 after her title in Eastbourne last week, when she won the first set and broke for 3-2 in the second.

But at that point the afternoon torpor that the crowd had been in all match seemed to descend on Pliskova.

Rybarikova broke straight back and then took the set after a game where Pliskova dumped an easy smash over the baseline and shanked a final forehand wide.

Rybarikova missed the second half of 2016 after undergoing surgery on her knee and wrist but has climbed back into the top 100 and went into the match with a 14-1 record on grass.

The 28-year-old won second-tier titles in Surbiton and Ilkley, with her only loss coming against Johanna Konta in the semi-finals of the Nottingham Open.

She was under pressure on serve at the start of the decider as Pliskova went back to her bread and butter of hard and flat hitting off both wings.

But she could not break the Rybarikova serve and instead it was the world number 87 who forged 3-1 ahead.

Pliskova broke back but Rybarikova broke again and then held for 5-2 after another tight service game, with one forehand pass particularly memorable.

She was tormenting Pliskova with her retrieving and won a remarkable net exchange to move two points away from victory in the next game.

Soon that was one point, and Rybarikova clinched a hugely impressive victory with a backhand winner after two hours and 18 minutes.


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