Pliskova continues impressive Aus Open march

Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova celebrates after beating Russia's Anna Blinkova in their Australian Open second-round match in Melbourne on January 19. Photo: AFP

Impressive fifth seed Karolina Pliskova continued her march through the Australian Open on Thursday, storming into the third round with another straight-sets thrashing.

The towering Czech star dished out a 6-0, 6-2 lesson to hapless Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova and will next meet either 31st seed Yulia Putintseva or Jelena Ostapenko.

If she gets through that round, as form suggests she will, a potential quarter-final against third seed Agnieszka Radwanska will be within her sights.

Pliskova, who broke through last year in making the US Open final, losing to Angelique Kerber, has been keen to play down her chances at the opening Grand Slam of the year.

But winning the lead-up Brisbane International and two ominous victories at Melbourne Park so far suggest she is hot property.

"I'm excited to be in the third round again," she said. "It's always good to be in the zone but I think it can still get better. I had a good off-season and I am prepared."

Blinkova, in her Grand Slam debut aged only 18 and ranked 189 in the world, never stood a chance in warm sunshine on Margaret Court Arena.

It was her first match against a top 10 opponent and she was out of her depth, struggling with her first serve and her returning.

Power server Pliskova gave no ground and raced through the first set in just 25 minutes, with Blinkova winning only 12 points.

Ranked at a career-high five in the world, the tall and tattooed 24-year-old was in no mood to give an inch and romped 4-0 in front in the second set before Blinkova finally held serve.

She raised her arm in the air and got huge cheers from the crowd, and then held serve for a second time before Pliskova wrapped up a routine victory.


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