Karolina Pliskova (right) giving her twin sister Kristyna some tips during her match against Donna Vekic of Croatia during the BMW Malaysian Open. Kristyna lost 6-1, 3-6, 5-7. – M. Azhar Arif / THE STAR
KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champion Karolina Pliskova sent a warning that she is ready to defend her BMW Malaysian Open title after cruising into the quarter-finals.
The lanky 22-year-old from Czech Republic, who easily navigated her first round match against Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic, once again came up strong against China’s Duan Ying-Ying on Thursday.
Karolina, who is the third seed, utilised her strong serves to good effect as she easily won 6-1, 6-3.
“It was a fast game but it was not by any means easy because my opponent put up a good fight too,” said Karolina.
“Malaysia was where I won my first WTA title and I like it here so I’m hoping to keep up the good showing.
“Unfortunately, my (twin) sister Kristyna didn’t win today. It would have been the first time both of us made the quarter-finals together but it just didn’t happen,” added Karolina, who will face Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay next.
Kristyna went down to seventh seed Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 5-7.
Earlier, second seed Zhang Shuai went through to the quarter-finals in a rain-halted match after beating Hong Kong’s Zhang Ling.
The reigning Asian Games gold medalist was once again stretched to a rubber game in as many days before beating Zhang Ling 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.
“I think it was probably the heat because my first round match was at night and it just felt so hot and humid today.
“But I’m happy to win especially since Zhang Ling played a good aggressive game,” added the world No. 45, who will meet Poland’s Magda Linette in the last eight.
Top seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia also booked her spot in the quarter-finals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over 2012 champion Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan.
Cibulkova, the world No. 10, will face Kazakhstan’s Zarina Dyas for a place in the semi-finals.