Elise Mertens

Elise Mertens easily handles the Pliskova switch to reach Doha quarterfinals

The 23-year-old adapted game plans quickly when lucky loser Kristyna was swapped in for a sick Karolina.

DOHA–We’ve all seen Parent Trap, right? Identical twins Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova pulled off a straight-out-of-TV swap on Wednesday at the Qatar Total Open, and Elise Mertens handled it all with aplomb.

Mertens was preparing to face Karolina Pliskova, but the world No. 5 pulled out the same day of the match, citing a viral illness. News broke of the withdrawal around 3 P.M. and Mertens was on court two hours later beating Kristyna, 6-2, 7-6 (3).

“I have never felt actually this way. But I just feel somehow my body is not ready,” Karolina Pliskova said. “I had a temperature few days. I don’t have any neck pain or something, but I just feel overall like super tired, and my muscles are just hurting from the morning without even doing anything.”

Her sister, Kristyna, had lost in the second round of qualifying. There were three rounds, so for her to get in would take a miracle, or a staggering five late withdrawals. While most of the second-round qualifying losers have long left Doha—likely for Dubai—Kristyna was sticking around to play doubles as a wild card entry with Karolina.

It was obviously a turn of good fortune that Mertens took on a world No. 90-ranked player instead of the No. 2 seed, but she still had to quickly adapt to a lefty and a smaller court within a matter of hours. She’d never faced either Pliskova sister before.

The world No. 22 takes on Kiki Bertens on Thursday for a spot in the WTA Premier semifinals.

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