Serena reveals ice skating inspiration, Pliskova survives Ostapenko scare


An inconsistent performance from Karolina Pliskova nearly resulted in an exit from the Australian Open, a fate Caroline Wozniacki was unable to avoid.

World number five and last year's US Open finalist Pliskova did not drop a game in the second set against Jelena Ostapenko, but had to rally back from 5-2 down in the decider to win 4-6 6-0 10-8.

Wozniacki had eased through her opening two matches but was unable to maintain that form against Johanna Konta, the 2016 semi-finalist triumphing 6-3 6-1.

Serena Williams made light work of Nicole Gibbs by beating her 6-1 6-3, while Ekaterina Makarova ended the campaign of reigning WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-7 (3-7) 6-3.

There were also wins for Barbora Strycova, Daria Gavrilova, Jennifer Brady and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.



Pliskova lost a combined four games across her opening two matches in Melbourne, but it was a very different story against Ostapenko.

The Czech failed to convert match point in game 12 of the third, eventually seeing out the win after two hours and five minutes - Ostapenko's 43 unforced errors contributing to her downfall.

Pliskova said: "I think I was a little bt lucky in the end, she was playing really well today and she was maybe the better one.

"When she was 5-2 up in the third set she was missing a little bit more, so I was just staying in the game and still fighting and also deserved to win."


Williams celebrated her routine victory over Gibbs with an on-court spin, and she revealed the inspiration behind it.

She told a media conference: "I can't do a triple Lutz, but I can maybe do a double. I have no idea. I just close my eyes, and I just spin and I pray I don't fall. If I do, I get up.

"I used to ice-skate when I was younger, but I was never a figure skater. Obviously I watched the Winter Olympics, and the figure skating was the only thing I wanted to see."



Konta produced her best display at a major at this event last year, and Wozniacki was so impressed following their match she backed the ninth seed to put up a good fight against Williams should they meet in the quarter-finals.

Wozniacki said: "I think if she keeps playing like this, then she has good chances against Serena. Obviously Serena is a champion, has won so many grand slams. She's been in tough positions. But I think Johanna is playing on a very high level right now."

Konta will have to overcome Makarova before contemplating a meeting with the world number two.


Maria Sakkari was just 16 months old when Lucic-Baroni began her professional tennis career.

But it was the 34-year-old who triumphed in a third-round clash with the young Greek, battling from a set down to win 3-6 6-2 6-3.