January 20, 2018 / 3:53 AM / a year ago

Tennis: Pliskova serves her way past Safarova into round four

Tennis - Australian Open - Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 20, 2018. Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic hits a shot against Lucie Safarova of Czech Republic. REUTERS/Issei Kato

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova beat fellow Czech Fed Cup team mate Lucie Safarova 7-6(6) 7-5 to move into the fourth round of the Australian Open on Saturday.

In a match dominated by serve the 25-year-old fired down 11 aces and offered up only one break point opportunity as she reached the last 16 for the second successive year.

Safarova was equally efficient on her own delivery but finally cracked in the 11th game of the second set to leave her opponent with the opportunity to serve for the match.

She needed no second invitation, crunching three aces including one on match point.

“It’s tough to play another Czech player especially as we are Fed Cup team mates,” Pliskova said on Margaret Court Arena. “It’s always close but I served well and that’s the key for me.”

Another Czech could be waiting in the fourth round if Barbora Strycova gets the better of lucky loser Bernarda Pera later on Saturday.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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