Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina progressed into the third round of the Australian Open on another largely successful day for seeded players. Among rare seeds upset on Thursday was No.20 Karolina Muchova, who fell to Catherine Bellis, the American building a comeback from four arm surgeries.
Continuing her strong recent form, second seed Karolina Pliskova needed 86 minutes on Rod Laver Arena to get past Laura Siegemund 6-3 6-3 in what she called “an ugly match”, implying that the German’s game is very tricky and that she’ll never feel comfortable playing her.
Fourth seed Simona Halep easily won the first set against 173rd-ranked qualifier Harriet Dart and seemed to be cruising to victory with a 5-1 lead in the second set. The match was prolonged though, as Halep’s concentration level dropped and her British opponent started playing better. After conceding three straight games, Halep won the last game to win the second-round match 6-2 6-4.
Elina Svitolina was challenged by Lauren Davis, but the fifth seed moved well and kept up with the American always giving her that one extra ball to complete the third-round field with a 6-2 7-6(6) victory as clock was nearing 1 a.m. in Melbourne.
Playing her first Slam event in two years, the period which included wrist, arm and elbow operations, plus doctor’s grim prognosis that she would never be able to play tennis again, American 20-year-old Catherine Bellis eliminated seed No.20 Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic 6-4 6-4. At just 17 years of age, Bellis reached No.35 ranking in August 2017, but less then a year later injuries pulled her away from tennis and her ranking is currently No.600 (she entered the Australian Open draw via the protected ranking rule).
Here’s just a fraction of what CiCi has been through, via WTA Insider:
In other second-round matches, No.6 seed Belinda Bencic beat unseeded 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 7-5 7-5 and Camila Giorgi eliminated two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-1, while unseeded two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza worked her way past Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3 3-6 6-3. Seeds Angelique Kerber, Donna Vekic, Anett Kontaveit, Kiki Bertens, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elise Mertens are all through to the third round.