MIAMI, FL, USA - Karolina Pliskova and Dominika Cibulkova, two of the Miami Open's top seeds, had to weather a lengthy rain delay in their respective matches but both emerged victorious to book their spots into the fourth round.
No.2 seed Pliskova needed an hour and forty minutes to fight past Yulia Putintseva in a tense straight sets battle 7-5, 6-3.
"It was difficult but obviously I played a little bit better in the second set than in the first," Pliskova told WTA Insider after the match. "I had so many chances in the first, so many set points.
"I'm happy that I went through, and think I need these matches, the hard ones. Not only to win easy matches, but also the ones were I don't feel really well like today."
Putintseva made the perfect start to the match by breaking through the Pliskova serve in the opening game, but the comfortable lead didn't last long. Pliskova leveled the match at 2-2, and the pair stayed on serve for the next seven games.
Pliskova brought up nine set points across two games: at 5-4 and again at 6-5, all of them on Putintseva's serve. The Kazakh fought tooth and nail to hang on - even firing off a stunning lob winner against the 6'3" Pliskova - but it was to no avail as the Czech broke a second time to take the set.
The rain delay halted play for over three hours, and upon resumption the match was just as tense, with the first five games going the way of the server before Pliskova powered through at love to take a 4-2 lead.
The lone break proved to be decisive, and the Czech took the match in straight sets for a spot in the round of 16. She'll face No.15 seed Barbora Strycova.
Cibulkova was in a much more comfortable position when the rain struck, up a set and a break against the tricky Kirsten Flipkens.
"I've faced a lot of rain delays, so I didn't really think about it," Cibulkova told WTA Insider after the match. "I just thought about what I want to do when I get back on the court. I knew I wanted to go for it from the first ball."
The Slovak was on fire from the start, opening the match with a break. She righted a late wobble to break once again and take the opening set. Cibulkova played to Flipkens' backhand to avoid her deadly slice, and the gambit paid off as she was rewarded with another early break to go up 6-2, 3-2.
She picked up right where she left off just over three hours later after the rain delay.
Though Cibulkova dropped serve right off the bat, she got the break right back in the next game and broke once again with a flurry of forehand winners - including a booming return down the line on match point - to wrap up the encounter in an hour and twenty-two minutes, 6-2, 6-3.
"It was a great win for me today. The way I played was really good, but mentally I finally felt like, 'Okay, this is how I want to play, this is how I want to handle things on the court.'
"It just gives me a lot of confidence, that after a little while I found it again. I want to memorize what I did during the match and how I felt and I want to keep going like that."
Up next she'll face Lucie Safarova for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Get on the Road to Singapore to see who are amongst the top 8 in the first Leaderboard update!
This article was first seen on www.wtatennis.com.