Karolina Pliskova, the second seed from the Czech Republic, reached the third round of the French Open for the first time in her career in what is looking like an increasingly open women’s draw.
What I did today, it's kind of special still. I have a chance. I know I can play better if I go deep in the tournament. Karolina Pliskova
She beat Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 4-6 6-3 to record only her third win at Roland Garros in five appearances and needs to overcome Germany’s Carina Witthoeft in the next round if she is to continue to live up to her seeding.
Pliskova said: “I’m happy because it’s my first third round here at Roland Garros. I was every year struggling, even this year struggling, but with a better end.
“I’m not really happy still with the way I was playing. I would say a little bit better than the first round but the opponent was different so she was playing much faster. The serve saved me in the third set.”
Pliskova made her grand slam breakthrough with a run to the US Open final last summer, beating Serena Williams before losing to Angelique Kerber.
She followed that up by making the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and winning a title in Doha.
“The US Open and Australian Open gives me some confidence,” said Pliskova. “So it doesn’t have to be that I played the best tennis but at least I feel like I’m there and I’m fighting and not scared that I’m going to lose.
“Last year I was also coming as a favourite, not as second seed but everyone is still expecting me to win something, and I didn’t make it. I lost in the first round. So even the first round means a lot to me.
“What I did today, it’s kind of special still. I have a chance. I know I can play better if I go deep in the tournament.”