Dubai Tennis: Victorious Karolina Pliskova lauds Alison Riske for pushing her on court
Meanwhile, fellow Czech Petra Kvitova relieved to win second straight match despite not playing her best tennis
Karolina Pliskova paid tribute to Alison Riske after overcoming the American's challenge to reach the quarter-finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship on Wednesday night.
The world No 5 had to go through two tie-breaks to triumph 7-6, 7-6 in a gruelling clash that lasted two hours and six minutes.
Riske, the world No 51, pushed Pliskova hard throughout and consistently found winners from all across the court.
Pliskova said: "It was tough. We had amazing rallies.
"The second set I think we played some good rallies. So many times I thought she's going to miss, and she made it in the end. Always the ball from her racquet is so low and so flat."
The 2015 Dubai finalist said that Riske had pushed her endurance wise, despite the match only consisting of two sets.
"I was running a lot," she added. "I think she really played well in the last couple games. She didn't give me anything for free, even any returns. I just really had to work for it. I was running from one side to the other."
The Czech feels she is improving as the tournament progresses, having been taken to three sets by Dominika Cibulkova on Tuesday in her second-round match before winning and believes being involved in close games will help her find her top form.
"Maybe the timing is not always the best on my shots," she said. "But I'm slowly getting there. Now I have had two really tough and good matches against tough opponents, which is important."
Pliskova now takes on Hsieh Su-Wei on Thursday in the quarter-finals after the Taiwanese player shocked world No 7 Angelique Kerber 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 in their encounter.
Of her opponent, Pliskova said: “She can play some amazing shots. She has a great feeling, great touch in the hand. It's going to be tough.”
Meanwhile, world No 3 Petra Kvitova was forced to play out a three-set duel for the second successive day as she prevailed 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 against Jennifer Brady.
Having toiled on Tuesday against Czech compatriot Katerina Siniakova she put in an inconsistent display against Brady, losing five games in a row in the second set.
But saving a break point in the opening game of the final set seemed to galvanise the two-time Wimbledon champion as she found her form to go through.
Kvitova said of her form: "I'm happy that I was able to get those two wins, which I think it's great when you don't playing your best and you still find a way to win it, which was yesterday and today as well. I think I'm very happy for that."
Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova is Kvitova's next opponent on Thursday.
The world No 45 saved three match points as she came from a set and a break down to beat American Sofia Kenin 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 on Court 1.
Updated: February 20, 2019 08:54 PM