Tennis: Pliskova lives up to favourite tag with strong start

Pliskova celebrates winning her first-round match.
Pliskova celebrates winning her first-round match.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) – Karolina Pliskova underlined why she is the bookmakers’ favourite to win Wimbledon as the world number three crushed Evgeniya Rodina 6-1, 6-4 in the first round on Tuesday (July 4).

With defending champion Serena Williams sidelined due to the impending birth of her first child, there is a power vacuum at the top of women’s tennis and Pliskova could be poised to fill it.

The 25-year-old Czech emerged as a potential star when she reached the US Open final last year and she has followed up on that breakthrough by making the French Open semi-finals last month.

Pliskova showed her grass-court prowess by winning the Wimbledon warm-up at Eastbourne last week and looked at home on Court One at the All England Club as she demolished Russian world number 80 Rodina in just 71 minutes.

Hoping to reach the Wimbledon third round for the first time, Pliskova will face Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova in the last 64.