US Open: Pliskova cruises to second round in maiden Grand Slam title bid

Karolina Pliskova beat Anhelina Kalinina 6-4 6-0 to cruise into the second round of the US Open at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Pliskova, who has won 16 WTA titles, next faces unseeded Caroline Garcia in the second round of the US Open.   -  Getty Images

First seed Karolina Pliskova got a roaring start to her bid for a maiden Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open on Monday, downing first-round opponent Anhelina Kalinina 6-4 6-0 to kick off the action in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 28-year-old Czech, who led the WTA in aces in four of the last five years, struggled with an uncharacteristically uneven serve in the first set, committing three double faults and getting only slightly more than half of her first serves in to give her unseeded opponent a fighting chance.

But Pliskova, the 2016 U.S. Open runner-up, found her footing in the second set, winning all her first-serve points and committing just one unforced error, as her Ukrainian opponent was left scrambling.

READ: US Open: Kerber reaches second round in New York

"I think my game was quite good for a first round," said Pliskova, the world number three, who played in front of empty stands as the tournament is being held without fans due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"For sure I prefer to have people around me," she added.

The match took place on an eerily quiet court, with the roar of jet engines and the rumble of the New York City subway piercing the silence. Tournament organizers piped in crowd noise to offer a taste of normality in between games and after particularly strong plays.

Pliskova, who has won 16 WTA titles, next faces unseeded Caroline Garcia of France.

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