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No. 2 Karolina Pliskova out in chaotic 3rd round at Australian Open

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic reacts while

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic reacts while in action against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia on Jan. 25, 2020. Credit: ROB PREZIOSO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstoc/ROB PREZIOSO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

MELBOURNE, Australia — Second-seeded Karolina Pliskova went the same way as seven-time champion Serena Williams and defending champion Naomi Osaka, exiting in a chaotic third round at the Australian Open.

Pliskova, a semifinalist here last year, lost 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) Saturday to 30th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in match lasting almost 2 1/2 hours. It was an ominous start, with Pliskova needing almost 18 minutes and fending off six break-point chances before holding in her first service game.

Williams and Osaka lost at the same stage on Day 5, when Caroline Wozniacki was also beaten in a loss that sent the 2018 Australian Open winner into retirement.

Three-time major winner Angelique Kerber bucked the trend by beating Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena.

The 2016 Australian Open winner will play Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the quarterfinals.

"It was a tough battle," the 17th-seeded Kerber said. "It's great to be in the second week in Melbourne again. It's still a long way."

Pavlyuchenkova had taken only one set off Pliskova in six previous matches, but changed her approach this time and attacked one of the best serves in women's tennis.

"I even had goosebumps after some points," the 28-year-old Russian said. "And to beat Karolina for the first time, it's amazing."

Pavlyuchenkova won the junior title at Melbourne Park more than a decade ago and said she was using that as motivation this time.

"It brings me like "you can do it,'" confidence, she said, "Keep going."

Former No. 1-ranked Simona Halep had the second match on Rod Laver Arena, and men's No. 1 Rafael Nadal was playing No. 27 Pablo Carreno Busta in the afternoon match on the main court at Melbourne Park.


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