June 19, 2019 / 9:58 AM / 2 months ago

Pliskova twins gear up for Birmingham sister act

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - May 31, 2019. Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during her third round match against Croatia's Petra Martic REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

(Reuters) - World number three Karolina Pliskova says she will have to battle nerves and strange emotions when she faces her twin sister Kristyna in the main draw of a WTA event for the first time at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham on Wednesday.

The Czech twins are set to meet in the second round at Edgbaston after former U.S. Open finalist Karolina accepted a wildcard to enter and beat Mihaela Buzarnescu on Monday.

Kristyna, who is two minutes older than her twin, came through three rounds of qualifying and beat Viktoriya Tomova in the opening round of the main draw to set up a first meeting with her sister since the Eastbourne qualifiers six years ago.

“It is tough to compete at 100% when you’re not really sure you want to beat your sister,” Karolina told reporters. “We’re in touch all the time and share a room here.

“We have been hitting everyday and warming up for matches. We share a lot of things and are always on the phone if we are playing different tournaments.”

Kristyna, ranked 112th in the world, has not enjoyed the same success as her twin and has not won a title since her maiden triumph at the Tashkent Open in 2016, but beat Karolina the last time they faced each other across the net.

“It is (the first meeting) in like six years, so it’s like from the beginning,” Kristyna said. “I think it was different before and also the tournaments were small, so you don’t really see it. I think this one will be more stressful.

“It’s family, so you don’t want (to face) her... but still I want to win as well.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings

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