June 18, 2018 / 6:00 PM / 4 months ago

Rybarikova stuns Pliskova in Birmingham opener

(Reuters) - World number seven Karolina Pliskova’s Wimbledon preparations suffered a setback in a 6-2 6-3 defeat by Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in the opening round of the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham on Monday.

Tennis - WTA Premier - Nature Valley Classic - Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham, Britain - June 18, 2018 Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova celebrates following her win in her Round of 32 match against Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

The 29-year-old Rybarikova, who ended Pliskova’s Wimbledon campaign last year in a three-set thriller, was in complete control from the start as she claimed the victory in just over an hour.

Tennis - WTA Premier - Nature Valley Classic - Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham, Britain - June 18, 2018 Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova in action during her Round of 32 match against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

“Karolina is a great player, and I have a lot of respect for her,” Rybarikova, the 2009 winner in Birmingham, said courtside.

“Today I don’t think it was her best day, but it was all about serves and returns and I was just better at that. That was the key.

“I put so many returns in, and maybe she was thinking about our last match in Wimbledon. It could have been a different result today, but I’m so happy that I won this match.”

Rybarikova will face Kristina Mladenovic for a place in the quarter-finals after the Frenchwoman edged past Czech Katerina Siniakova 1-6 6-2 6-4.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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