Karolina Pliskova swepts her doubleheader Friday at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. 

By Associated Press
August 18, 2017

MASON, Ohio (AP) Defending champion Karolina Pliskova made it a doubleheader sweep Friday at the Western & Southern Open, reaching the semifinals by winning a pair of matches with little rest in-between.

First, the top seed had to finish a match that was suspended because of rain the previous night. She completed a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 victory over qualifier Camila Giorgi. After a quick turnaround, she needed only 67 minutes to beat a rested Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4 for a sweep into the semis.

''The first match helped me a little bit to have some rallies already today,'' Pliskova said. ''Physically it was not that tough, so I was warmed up enough.''

No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal also was trying to have a 2-0 day, with little time to rest and prepare.

Nadal spent an hour and 37 minutes on court early Friday afternoon while beating fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6 (1), 6-2, a match that never got started the previous night because of rain. He was scheduled back on court five hours later to face Nick Kyrgios.

''And now another very, very difficult match,'' Nadal said as he left the court.

Nadal took time to mention the attack in Barcelona that left 13 people dead, which was weighing on his mind during the busy day.

''Everyone is very, very sad,'' Nadal said. ''I don't have words to say. ... All my support to Barcelona, and especially to the people that are suffering a lot, for all the families of the victims.''

John Isner reached the semifinals, beating wild-card Jared Donaldson 7-6 (4), 7-5. He'll play seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, who needed only 52 minutes to beat Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 6-1. Isner won the only break point of the match to go ahead 6-5 in the second set. He closed it out with a 136 mph ace, one of his 25 in the match.

In the women's bracket, Pliskova will face Garbine Mugaruza in the semifinals. The Wimbledon champion survived another tough challenge Friday, beating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 5-7, 7-5. The match went 2 hours, 45 minutes—her longest of the tournament.

''I think it was one of the best matches of the year,'' Muguruza said. ''I think we both played very well, especially in the third set. I know I won, but I'm sure she feels like it was a great match as well, because it was a tough battle and very hot out there.''

Muguruza's win came less than 24 hours after she spent 2 hours, 18 minutes on the court and fought off three match points to beat Madison Keys in the round of 16.

Muguruza has reached the semifinals of two of the three tournaments she's entered since winning Wimbledon.

''You know, I'm happy with the way I'm playing and the way I'm going through these tough matches because, you know, I've got to dig in and somehow win them,'' she said. ''For sure, even if I didn't win a tournament, I'm very happy that I'm getting deep into the tournament.''


AP freelance writer Mark Schmetzer contributed to this report.

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