Tennis: Pliskova, Cibulkova cruise into third around at Miami

Pliskova returns a shot against Madison Brengle.
Pliskova returns a shot against Madison Brengle.PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (REUTERS) – Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova cruised into the third round of the Miami Open with a 6-1 6-3 win over Madison Brengle on Thursday (March 23) while Dominika Cibulkova beat Paraguayan qualifier Veronica Cepede Royg 6-3 6-2.

Pliskova, a finalist at last year’s US Open who reached the semi-finals at Indian Wells last week, relied on her booming groundstrokes and strong returning to dispatch her American opponent in 59 minutes.

“The last few matches it’s not really about my serve because the percentage is a little low, but I’m happy that I have my game from the baseline,” Pliskova, who hit 27 winners compared to six for Brengle, said after the match. “I was feeling the ball pretty well today.”

Pliskova controlled the rallies, winning six straight games to finish off the opening set and go up a break in the second.

Brengle then attacked Pliskova’s serve to earn her first service break, but the world number three re-established the lead in the next game and served out to end the match.

Slovakian fourth seed Cibulkova faced only two break points against Cepede Royg of Paraguay and saved both in a win that set up a third-round clash with Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, who outbattled 29th seed Croatian Ana Konjuh 7-6(4) 6-7(6) 6-2.

In other matches, unseeded Czech Lucie Safarova beat 23rd-seeded Australian Daria Gavrilova; Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, seeded 26th, defeated Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko and China’s Zhang Shuai advanced past Italy’s Sara Errani.

Prominent players in second-round action later in the day include fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, sixth-seeded French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and 12th-seed Caroline Wozniacki.