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Pliskova looks to Roland Garros after shock U.S. Open exit

(Reuters) - Top seed Karolina Pliskova congratulated opponent Caroline Garcia after being unceremoniously dumped out of the U.S. Open second round in straight sets on Wednesday and said she was already gearing up for redemption on the clay of Roland Garros.

Sep 2, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic reacts while walking to her playerÕs chair for a changeover after losing a game against Caroline Garcia of France (not pictured) on day three of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

An out-of-sorts Pliskova was blitzed 6-1 7-6(2) by the unseeded Frenchwoman in a match that marked the earliest exit by a top seed at Flushing Meadows since Simona Halep’s opening round loss in 2018.

Pliskova, who finished runner-up in New York four years ago, denied that she had crumbled under the weight of expectation, pointing instead to her opponent’s stellar performance.

“This (seeding) has nothing to do with my loss today,” Pliskova told reporters. “I think there are just some girls who are playing good tennis... Garcia is one of them.

“I think she played amazing set and a half. Of course I got my chances later in the second set.”

Pliskova, who has reached the last 16 or better in her past four appearances in New York, clawed her way back into the match after winning three consecutive games to take a 5-4 lead in the second set, only to squander two set points on Garcia’s serve.

Garcia held her nerve to force a tiebreak, wrapping up the win and improving her head-to-head record against Pliskova to four wins in seven meetings, leaving the Czech to rue a bad day at the office.

“I didn’t serve that great, especially early in the match. But that’s how it is sometimes. I’m not a robot, so I don’t have to play every day amazing,” Pliskova said.

The world number three is clearly still rusty after the tour’s long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is hoping to get a couple of tournaments under her belt before the French Open begins later this month.

“I’m in Rome, after in Strasbourg, too, then of course Paris. I think I’m going to start to practice as early as possible on clay,” she said. “I mean, we just started. I think there is no reason to panic really.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry

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