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Defending champ Pliskova rolls past Bellis in Brisbane

BRISBANE, Australia - In just 53 minutes, defending champion and No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova opened her campaign at the Brisbane International with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over American Catherine Bellis on Wednesday night.

Crunching 24 winners to just 11 unforced errors, Pliskova was dominant against the 2017 WTA Newcomer of the Year from the first moment of the match, winning 90% of points played behind her first serve and never facing a break point.

No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova cruised to a second round victory over Catherine Bellis in under an hour in her first match at the Brisbane International.
"I'm just happy to be back in Brisbane - I have nice memories from last year. I think I played well, solid from the baseline... overall, it was a good start," Pliskova said after the match.

"I've been here for more than one week - I've been practicing well, and hopefully the next one can be better."

In the last second round match to be played in the tournament on its third day, Pliskova showed few signs of offseason rust and didn't suffer a slow start against the World No.60.

The No.2 seed broke the American teenager in her first service game in the opening set, later clinching insurance in a lengthy penultimate game and sealing the first set with her lone love hold of the match.

In the second, an opening hold to 15 gave Bellis her first lead of the night, but Pliskova proved in the zone from there and reeled off the last six games to move safely through to the quarterfinals.

"We had to play last match on Wednesday, and I felt like we've been here for two weeks and without any matches. I was pretty happy to go on court today," the Czech said.

"I was already practicing here in Brisbane, except on the first day, as I was sick on my way in Thailand. I got sick on the way from the Czech Republic, so the main problem was there. By the time I got here, I was already fine, so I was practicing almost twice every day. I think I was ready 100% ready for the match."

Up next for the World No.4 is another former winner in Queensland, Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi.

Last year's US Open quarterfinalist has won five matches in Brisbane and defeated Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko in the second round, 6-4, 6-3.

"I think she won the tournament because I saw her name where I walk to the locker room, so she has to like these conditions," Pliskova said of the 2012 champion.

"I think she's playing quite similar and has a good serve, from what I remember. I will have to play aggressive and not let her play."


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