The Czech world number one, 25, was not at her fluent best, making 19 unforced errors in a 6-2 6-1 victory. But ultimately Pliskova – last year’s beaten finalist – had too much power for her 72nd-ranked opponent. She hit eight aces and 29 winners to beat Linette, who has only one US Open win, in one hour and 18 minutes.
“I felt a little bit nervous coming out here, especially after last year. But I think I played pretty solid,” Pliskova said. Pliskova must reach the final to have a chance of retaining her ranking, with six other women all hoping to overtake her by winning at Flushing Meadows.
She has a lot of ranking points to defend after last year’s defeat by Angelique Kerber, a fact perhaps contributing to a few nerves ahead of Tuesday’s opening match on Arthur Ashe Court. Pliskova moved a break up after both players lost serve in three of the opening four games, then fought off three break points in the seventh game before going on to seal the first set.
After a brief delay when rain forced the roof to be closed, Pliskova broke again in Linette’s first service game of the second set and her own dominant serve – despite a brief blip when he she fought off six break points for a 4-1 lead – saw her through.