Pliskova through to Sydney quarters

Czech Karolina Pliskova is looking ominous ahead of next week’s Australian Open after breezing into the quarter-finals of the Sydney International with a 6-3 6-0 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The 2015 Sydney runner-up has yet to drop a set in her two matches and is now likely to meet top seed Simona Halep, who takes on Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia later on Tuesday night.

World No.11 Pliskova was the third woman through to the final eight after former French Open runner-up Sara Errani disposed of ex-world No.1 Jelena Jankovic earlier in the day.

Down 5-2 in the second set, the Italian world No.19 fought back to win 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (10-8) and book a date with Germany’s Sabine Lisicki or Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.

Earlier, world No.7 Angelique Kerber was the latest woman to pull out from the grand slam lead-up event, citing gastrointestinal illness.

The 27-year-old German won her opening match of the tournament on Monday, defeating Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 4-6 6-0 6-3.

But the Brisbane finalist joined a growing list of Sydney withdrawals on Tuesday, including defending champion Petra Kvitova (illness) and world No.5 Agnieszka Radwanska (leg).

She is the final member of the women’s top 10 who has suffered a pre-Open setback in the past week.

“I’m very sorry I can’t go on court today but I’m not feeling 100 per cent. I started to feel unwell yesterday and today my stomach is not right,” Kerber said.

“I don’t want to risk my health before Melbourne, of course, but I love to come back to the Apia International Sydney and always have good results here – semi-finals last year and the final two years ago.”

Australia’s Hopman Cup winner Daria Gavrilova was also a late scratching due to an abdominal strain.

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