The pressure was already on Karolina Pliskova to win this tournament given the lack of other contenders but it is even more so now after Wednesday’s shock exit of Petra Kvitova. Her fellow Czech’s loss to Madison Brengle opens up the tournament even further for Pliskova to take her first slam and with it the World No.1 ranking spot. She has a tricky second rounder against Magdalena Rybarikova to take care of first.
Rybarikova has not done much on the main tour this year as she worked her way back from injury. She was just inside the top 400 at the start of May but already finds herself back at 85 coming into Wimbledon although she did have to use a protected ranking to get into the tournament. It may as well not have mattered for the Slovak, who 2 months later has 4 ITF titles to her name including those at Surbiton and Ilkley – both of which would have provided a wildcard for the winner. Rybarikova won comfortably in round one against Monica Niculescu, dealing easily with the Romanian’s junk balling in a 6-4 6-1 victory.
There was no let down for Pliskova in round one, taking her Eastbourne form into the tournament. She dropped just 5 games against Evgeniya Rodina, hitting 35 winners in the process. It was a comfortable win and she spent just 1 hour 5 minutes on court. “I felt quite good the first set especially. The second set was a little bit worse. I thought I was serving well, just playing well on her serve, which is always important. I was just trying to be aggressive.” she said afterwards.
Pliskova is aware of the threat that Rybarikova poses. “I know she can be really dangerous. Especially now she was coming back at injury, she had some good wins. Definitely she’s ready to play. On grass I think she can be dangerous with her game which she’s having. She can play a lot of slices, dropshots, serving well, also good at the net. Expecting a tough match, definitely.” she said of her opponent. It’s the type of opponent that can make Pliskova look bad if the Czech is a step slow but in reality, Pliskova should be intending to blast her off the court if she is looking to show she is the tournament favourite.
Prediction – Karolina Pliskova in straight sets