Second seed Karolina Pliskova was challenged by Egyptian qualifier Mayar Sherif in the first round of the French Open on Tuesday, but after narrowly losing the first set, the Czech breezed through the second and recorded a crucial break in the middle of the third to advance in two hours and 15 minutes, 6-7(9) 6-2 6-4.
The 59-minute first set went with serve until its final stage, when the world No.172 Sherif broke Pliskova to serve for the set at 6-5. Pliskova broke back to force a tiebreak and after saving multiple set points Sherif edged the first set.
The second set was much less competitive. It opened with an exchange of breaks, but the rest was smooth sailing for Pliskova, who sports Fila’s new Mad for Plaid collection this fortnight in Paris.
Despite quickly losing the second set, the 24-year-old Sherif didn’t melt away on her main-draw debut at a Grand Slam. The Egyptian upped her level and continued to fight mightily, but Pliskova decided the match in the 11-minute seventh game of the third set when she converted her sixth break point.
A loss today would have been Pliskova’s worst by-ranking loss at a Grand Slam, but she prevented that from happening and advanced to the second round where she will face the 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.