Pliskova bounces back in Eastbourne

Defending champion Karolina Pliskova got back on track with a first-round victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Eastbourne International on Monday.

The Czech fell at the first hurdle in Birmingham last week, but quickly put that disappointment behind her by beating her Russian opponent 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

Pliskova had won all five of her previous meetings against Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets, but needed a third on this occasion.

“It is tough to come in defending a title, but I was happy to get three sets on this court and a win today,” she said after the match.

“I have good memories the past two years, because I made the final and won the title last year, and I like this tournament so much. I was getting used to [conditions] during the match, so hopefully the next one can be a little bit better.”

The battle lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours and Pavlyuchenkova threatened an upset after bossing the second set, but Pliskova recovered superbly in the third to avoid a repeat of last week’s early exit.

“I don’t think I played that bad but she just played a little bit better than the last matches where we played together,” Pliskova added.

“It’s everything now about the confidence. I feel like I was practicing well now, and I feel much better than I was feeling on clay in Paris, so, yeah, there is no reason why I cannot play well.”

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki made her grass-court debut on Monday, and eased back into the swing of things with a straightforward 6-2, 6-3 victory over Italy’s Camila Giorgi.

Wozniacki surrendered a break in her very first service game but then went on to win the next six games in a row to go one set up before wrapping up the second set in routine fashion shortly after.

The other two pre-tournament favourites, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber, begin their Eastbourne campaigns on Tuesday.