Pliskova lays down marker
Karolina Pliskova began the defence of the title she won 12 months ago with a thumping 6-1 6-1 triumph over CiCi Bellis in the second round of the Brisbane International
The Czech, in her first match of the new campaign, was in blistering form as she took just 53 minutes to dismiss her youthful opponent and reach the last eight. The world No.4 was especially strong behind her serve and did not face a single break-point all evening.
"I'm just happy to be back in Brisbane, I have nice memories from last year,” said Pliskova, after cracking 26 winners and committing 11 unforced-errors. “I think I played well, was solid from the baseline and overall, it was a good start.
"I've been here for more than one week. I've been practicing well, and hopefully the next one can be better."
Pliskova will encounter Kaia Kanepi in the last eight. The Estonian qualifier enjoyed a straightforward 6-4 6-3 win over Lesia Tsurenko to earn a shot at the Czech on Thursday.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich is also safely through to the quarter-finals after a 1-6 7-6(2) 6-3 triumph over Anett Kontaveit. Her reward is a meeting with Alize Cornet.
Meanwhile at the Shenzhen Open in China, Simona Halep bounced back from conceding the first set to lowly ranked Ying-Ying Duan and wrapped up a 3-6 6-1 6-2 victory in 97 minutes.
In securing a safe passage through to the last eight, the Romanian is now guaranteed to stay as world No.1 next week. She will challenge Aryna Sabalenka next.
Irina-Camelia Begu, Katerina Siniakova and Kristyna Pliskova are also through.
Caroline Wozniacki, who will move up to world No.2 in the rankings on Monday, thrashed Petra Martic 6-2 6-2 while Julia Goerges and Agnieszka Radwanska also recorded one-sided wins.
Barbora Strycova, Sofia Kenin, Sachia Vickery, Su-Wei Hsieh and Polona Hercog also enjoyed that winning feeling in New Zealand.