Pliskova makes hard work of Gibbs

Karolina Pliskova

Top seed and World No 1 Karolina Pliskova had to battle back from a set down to defeat home favourite Nicole Gibbs at the US Open on Thursday.

The Czech star looked totally out of sorts in the first set but gradually regained her composure to close out a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Pliskova looked far from assured of a place in the third round in the early stages of the match, however. With four double faults and 15 unforced errors to her name, she was unable to impose herself on the match.

After finding herself under pressure in the third game and needing to save four break points, she finally gave away the fifth to hand Gibbs a 2-1 lead.

That soon became 4-1 as the American broke again, and there was no way back for Pliskova in the first set from there.

Pliskova still wasn’t at her best in the second set, but with her first serve working more effectively, she cut down Gibbs’ opportunities.

And while Gibbs made just four unforced errors in the first set, that rose to 11 in the second. A more solid Pliskova was able to snatch a break point in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead, with the second set following shortly after.

By the third set, the unforced error rate between the two players had totally swapped around, with Gibbs making nearly twice as many mistakes as her opponent.

Unable to really trouble Pliskova on her serve, Gibbs soon gave away another break, allowing Pliskova to wrap up the hard-fought victory after one hours and 49 minutes.

“I think in the second set I improved a little bit. I started to serve much better,” Pliskova said after the match.

“I think she was playing really aggressively from the baseline and I didn’t have many chances to play my game.

“In some matches you need the serve more than normal. I didn’t feel my game from the baseline was dead good today.

“I think it’s easier for people to play me now than for me to play them – I feel the pressure now. Everyone is playing their best tennis against me and I felt it today.”