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POSTED AT 08:48 AM 18-08-2017

Pliskova on track to defend Cincinnati title, Venus out

Karolina Pliskova (CZE) returns a shot against Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS) during the Western and Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center - USA TODAY Sports

REUTERS: Karolina Pliskova celebrated her return to the tournament that helped launch her rise to world number one with a 6-2 6-3 win over Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the second round of the Cincinnati Open on Wednesday.

Two celebrated seeds fell, with number three Angelique Kerber and ninth-seeded Venus Williams upset in three-setters, disrupting their US Open preparations.

Kerber lost 6-4 1-6 7-6(11) to Russian Ekaterina Makarova, while Williams was upset 6-3 2-6 6-2 by Australian qualifier Ashleigh Barty in second-round matches.

Barty will face former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, a 6-2 6-4 winner against Russia’s Elena Vesnina, in the last 16.

Top seed Pliskova rose to the occasion on the key points.

She saved all five break points she faced, while losing just three points behind her first serve against the Russian, who reached her first WTA final at Den Bosch in June.