PARIS Second seed Karolina Pliskova survived a see-saw encounter against unheralded Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova to win 6-2 4-6 6-3 on Thursday and reach the French Open third round for the first time.
A U.S. Open finalist last year, the Czech world number three looked to be cruising to victory after clinching the first set in 20 minutes.
Pliskova, who has won two titles this season, inexplicably lost her rhythm in the second set and her unforced errors started to mount up as Alexandrova displayed her staying power in the baseline rallies.
"I did not play my best tennis today, but I am happy I have finally reached the third round," Pliskova told reporters. "Still not really happy with the way I was playing. I would say (I played) a little bit better than (in the) first round."
"I feel like I can be more aggressive sometimes. I was playing too short so that's why she was pushing me a little bit more."
The Russian world number 86 wasted a set point at 5-3 but made amends in the next game to level the match.
Pliskova, though, was in no mood for any further drama. She broke midway through the third set and settled the contest on her second match point.
"I know I can play better if I go deep in the tournament," Pliskova added. "What I done even today it's kind of special still. I have a chance."
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)