PARIS • Karolina Pliskova admitted that she was too passive and made too many mistakes, after her quest for a maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros came to an end yesterday with a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Croatia's Petra Martic.
The defeat meant that the Czech second seed became the latest big name to crash out of the French Open women's draw, and that Naomi Osaka will remain world No. 1 following the end of the Grand Slam regardless of her result.
Against the 31st seed on Court Philippe Chatrier, Pliskova produced an error-strewn display and exited in 1hr 25min.
But, to Martic's credit, the 28-year-old is on a good run and has now won 14 matches on clay this season, more than any other player on the WTA Tour.
"Obviously, she's playing well this year, especially on clay," Pliskova told reporters after the match. "She won titles (winning her first WTA title in Turkey last month) so she's playing confident. She was serving well.
"I think on clay, it's just too difficult always to just go for it. Maybe I was a little bit, at some points, passive, maybe not that fast. My serve wasn't really working.
"I don't think she did much wrong today, so I think she played clever. She was patient. I just did too many mistakes."
Martic said after the match that she tried to dominate Pliskova and mostly the tactic worked.
Unforced errors by Karolina Pliskova, compared to only 23 winners.
"The key was to focus on my game and try to dictate instead of letting her dictate, which is her biggest strength," said Martic.
"And I'm just happy that I managed in the end to hold my nerves and to finish it off."
Pliskova finished with 28 unforced errors in total, and had only 23 winners.
The 27-year-old is a 2015 US Open finalist and 2017 Roland Garros semi-finalist, and was considered a top title contender after winning the last build-up event in Rome.
But she is now out of the tournament together with fourth seed Kiki Bertens, fifth seed Angelique Kerber and sixth seed Petra Kvitova.
All four had the chance to dethrone Osaka atop the rankings but the 21-year-old Japanese, who plays her third-round match today against Russian Katerina Siniakova, is now assured of retaining the top spot she claimed in late January with the Australian Open title.
Meanwhile, former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain laid down an impressive marker yesterday as she overpowered ninth seed Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-3 to reach the fourth round.
In the men's draw, Roger Federer outclassed Norway's Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (10-8) yesterday to reach the last 16.
The 37-year-old Swiss has now made the fourth round at the French Open for the 14th time where he will face either fellow 37-year-old Nicolas Mahut of France or Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
"It was hard to find weaknesses in his game, so I'm relieved, I'm now going to have a good shower and it's going to be great," said Federer.
DPA, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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