Pliskova survives scare to reach 3rd round at Eastbourne

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic returns a shot against Russia's Maria Sharapova during their third round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, June 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

EASTBOURNE, England (AP) After his first win in nearly a year, Andy Murray wasn’t ready to commit to playing at Wimbledon next week.

Murray beat Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-3 at the Eastbourne International on Monday in the second match of his comeback from long-term hip problems.

Murray returned last week at the Queen’s Club and lost to Nick Kyrgios in the first round.

He said if he believes his body can handle Grand Slam best-of-five-set matches, then he’ll play at Wimbledon, where he’s won twice.

”If I don’t, then obviously I won’t play,” Murray said. ”I’m coming back from a very serious injury which is not easy.

”I’m not putting any pressure on myself to make that decision after one match here or two matches, because I don’t need to. I can decide when I want.

”The match with Nick was two hours, 45 minutes, and the slams, you have to be prepared for four hours. That (against Kyrgios) obviously could have gone another couple of sets potentially, and I didn’t feel great the following day.”

Wawrinka, coming back from his own long-term knee injury, contributed to his downfall with an erratic serve. He hit eight aces but double-faulted four times, including on match point.

Murray’s last success came in the fourth round of Wimbledon on July 10, 2017, when he was No. 1.

”I thought the first set I played well, second set was a little bit patchy at times, a bit nervous towards the end.

”When you’ve not played for the best part of a year, closing out the match against someone like Stan, who I’ve had lots of great matches with – tough, tough guy to play against – was tough. But delighted to get the win.”

He next faces second-seeded Kyle Edmund, who overtook him as the British No. 1 while he was injured.

Another Briton is also through to the second round, after Jay Clarke beat Ryan Harrison of the United States 6-4, 6-1.

It was the teenager’s first ATP Tour win and his first victory over a player in the top 100. Harrison is ranked 58th.

Also through was sixth-seeded David Ferrer.

In the women’s draw, defending champion Karolina Pliskova survived a scare to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and reach the third round.

Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, last year’s runner-up, had an easier passage as she beat Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-2.

Pliskova had never lost a set to Pavlyuchenkova in five previous meetings but the Czech player struggled in the second set before prevailing 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

The second-seeded Pliskova hit nine aces in the first set and seemed on her way to another comfortable victory.

However, Pavlyuchenkova broke immediately in the second set and, although the Russian was broken back, she broke Pliskova’s serve again and two successive errors from her opponent saw her level on sets.

But there was to be no upset as Pliskova broke in the third game of the third set and, after saving a break point in the next game, she never looked back.

Pliskova broke again in the final game, sealing the match when Pavlyuchenkova hit the ball long.

Giorgi won the first two games against Wozniacki but that was to prove a false dawn for the Italian as three successive double faults appeared to shake her confidence and she lost the next six games and the first set, which Wozniacki sealed with a delightful shot down the line.

Wozniacki broke Giorgi at the start of the second set and the Danish player looked in impervious form as she stormed on to take the match, winning when Giorgi hit a forehand into the net.

Former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska was one of a number playing first-round matches and the Polish player beat Timea Babos 6-3, 6-1.

Kristina Mladenovic of France beat local hope Heather Watson 6-7 (2), 7-5, 6-3.