Wimbledon | Pliskova wakes up in time
Karolina Pliskova came very close to joining the queue of departing seeds but managed to collect her game to get past Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu 3-6 7-6(3) 6-1 to reach the fourth round.
The seventh-seeded Czech was certainly in grave danger of becoming the 10th seed to be culled from this year’s Championships as 30-year-old Buzarnescu, who has graduated as a doctor, went on the attack to snatch the first set and storm into a 4-1 lead in the second.
Even though they are not seeded, all the players are pretty strong and playing very good tennis. They wouldn’t be here without playing a good level. Even today I could have lost. For me it’s important I’m still in the draw. I know the draw is open and there is a big chance for me. All that matters is I want to win my next round. Karolina Pliskova
Whether the Romanian suddenly took her eye off the ball is not clear but the lackadaisical long-legged Czech managed to cling on and turn the match around at what was a dangerous stage for her.
So what did she do to get out of that situation?
“I don’t know,” she said matter-of-factly.
But then added: “Obviously a set and a half, she was so much better than me. But I just tried to hold my serve and wait for some chance because I was returning her serve so badly even though it was not that fast.
“I couldn’t get used to it. Finally, when I got used to it, I got my chances. She started to miss a little bit. Then obviously she was broken a little bit after the second set.”
But then, having levelled the match, Pliskova was well in charge and raced away with a third to make it through to the second week for the first time in seven attempts.
She will next take on Venus Williams’ conqueror Kiki Bertens for a place in the quarter-finals.
Pliskova and world number one Simona Halep are the only top-10 seeds still in the draw in what is the worst showing by Wimbledon seeds since the sport turned professional.
As things now stand Pliskova, the only seed from the top ten left in her half of the draw, she could well find herself going all the way to the final and match her achievement at the 2016 US Open. And this is the player who for the past seven years, couldn’t get past the second round at SW19.
“I don’t care in the draw if they are seeded or not,” she said when told of her situation within the draw.
“Even though they are not seeded, all the players are pretty strong and playing very good tennis. They wouldn’t be here without playing at a good level.
“Even today I could have lost. For me it’s important I’m still in the draw. I know the draw is open and there is a big chance for me. All that matters is I want to win my next round.”