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Pliskova and Nadal Win In Impressive Fashion In Cincinnati

Top seeds Karolina Pliskova and Rafael Nadal both opened their 2017 Western & Southern Open campaign with impressive straight set victories, sending each player into the Round of 16.

Karolina Pliskova opened her Western & Southern Open title defense with a straight forward 6-2 6-3 over lucky loser Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

Pliskova, the top ranked women on the WTA tour, needs to win the tournament to retain the top ranking and secure the top seed at the US Open. Simona Halep, Elena Svitolina, and Caroline Wozniacki are all in the running to take the top spot from Pliskova.

Pliskova never let her opponent into the match, breaking early in the first set and taking care of her own serve. Pliskova won 94% of her first serve points and pressuring the young Russian all match with her booming forehand.

Up next for Pliskova in the Round of 16 is the tricky Italian, Camila Giorgi. “I think she’s one the strongest hitters I have played ever,” Pliskova said of Giorgi. “I mean, there is a few, but I think she’s one of the really, like, craziest.”

 

Rafael Nadal continued his dominance of Richard Gasquet, moving to 15-0 against the Frenchman with a 6-3, 6-4 win on Center Court Wednesday evening.

Nadal, who will become the top ranked player on the ATP tour with Federer’s withdrawal from the tournament, is looking to win his second Western & Southern Open title. With other top players out with injuries, Nadal is the prohibitive favorite to win the tournament.

The Spaniard would only need two breaks of serve throughout the match, one each per set, to win the match. Like Pliskova, Nadal won his match with his big serve, winning 85% of his first serve points, and his dominant forehand, keeping Gasquet well behind the baseline.

Nadal will play Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who Nadal owns a 3-0 record against, in the Round of 16 Thursday night on Center Court.

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