Osaka advances in Birmingham, Pliskova twins to face each other


Rain disrupted Tuesday’s schedule at the Nature Valley Classic, but top seed Naomi Osaka squeezed into the second round before the weather suspended play at the Edgbaston Priory Club and qualifier Kristyna Pliskova managed to set up a rare meeting with her third-seeded twin sister Karolina.

The 21-year-old Osaka expected a tough first-round test from Maria Sakkari and she got it, as the Greek won the second set and was up 40-0 on Osaka’s serve at 2-2 in the third set. The Japanese two-time Grand Slam champion fended off a total of six break points to hold serve in an almost 10-minute fifth game of the decider, then broke Sakkari to lead 4-2, confirmed the lead with a love hold and sealed victory on the first match point in her next service game, 6-1 4-6 6-3.

Kristyna Pliskova defeated fellow qualifier Viktoriya Tomova 6-3 6-4 in Tuesday’s first round and set up a much-talked-about meeting with twin sister Karolina Pliskova, their first ever in the main draw of a WTA tournament. The third-seeded Karolina advanced into the second round yesterday, by beating Mihaela Buzarnescu. Commenting on the upcoming encounter, Kristyna said: “It’s very strange to play her. It’s family, so you don’t want her… but still I want to win as well.”

There’s quite a gap between career accomplishments of the Pliskova twins — even though the world No.112 Kristyna was the first to record a main-draw match win at a Grand Slam and secure a place in the Top 100, she reached her best ranking of No.35 in July 2017, while Karolina used to be No.1 and for years she’s been a steady member of the Top 10. All in all, the twins have faced each other eight times and are tied at 4-4.


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