Karolina Pliskova vs. Lesia Tsurenko, Brisbane Final Preview

Brisbane International, Final Preview
🇨🇿 (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko

Sunday night’s championship match at the Brisbane International sees 2017 champion Karolina Pliskova take on Lesia Tsurenko. Pliskova heads into this match as a strong favourite but Tsurenko is in great form and is not to be dismissed.

Lesia Tsurenko of the Ukraine in action during the semifinal of the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova has been very successful in Brisbane over the last couple of years. Pliskova won the tournament in 2017 and reached the semi-finals last year, she now has the chance to win a second title at the first premier level final of the year.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Pliskova this week, she started the week with a tough match against Yulia Putintseva where she came from a set and a break down. Pliskova’s level has generally increased as the week has gone on, her most consistent performance came at the semi-final stage where she beat Donna Vekic 6-3 6-4.

Lesia Tsurenko has progressed to her first premier level final without dropping a set. Tsurenko cruised through her first few matches against Mihaela Buzarnescu and Kimberly Birrell before winning a tight match against an in-form Anett Kontaveit. Tsurenko’s biggest win came at the semi-final stage where she claimed a big 6-2 6-4 win over Naomi Osaka.

Pliskova heads into this match with a 3-2 head-to-head record over Tsurenko. The most recent match between the pair took place on clay in Madrid in 2017, Pliskova won that match 7-6 2-6 6-2.

Will Pliskova win her second Brisbane title or will Tsurenko claim the biggest title of her career?

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Naomi Osaka vs. Lesia Tsurenko, Brisbane SF Preview

Brisbane International – SF Preview
🇯🇵 (2) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko

Naomi Osaka continues her Brisbane International campaign on Saturday with a semi-final showdown against Lesia Tsurenko. Osaka is seemingly the player to beat this week in Brisbane after a sensational performance against Anastasija Sevastova in the quarter-finals. Osaka will be very confident heading into this match given her demolition of Tsurenko in their only previous meeting.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during the quarter-final at the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Osaka made a real statement in a 3-6 6-0 6-4 win over Anastasija Sevastova to reach the semi-finals in Brisbane. Osaka was outplayed in the first set and seemed destined for a third consecutive loss against the tricky Latvian. However, Osaka rallied and produced an extremely high level over the second and third sets to turn the match around and claim a critical win over a troublesome opponent.

Lesia Tsurenko also heads into this match with confidence having navigated her way to the semi-finals in Brisbane without dropping a set. Tsurenko started the week with a 6-0 6-2 thrashing of Mihaela Buzarnescu before claiming a comfortable 6-4 6-3 win against Kimberly Birrell. Tsurenko’s greatest test came at the quarter-final stage where she defeated Anett Kontaveit 7-5 6-3, a good win over a dangerous opponent.

Osaka smashed Tsurenko 6-1 6-1 at the quarter-final stage of the US Open last year in their only previous meeting. Can Tsurenko can this match more competitive and take down the reigning US Open champion?

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Aliaksandra Sasnovich vs. Donna Vekic, Brisbane QF Preview

🇦🇺 Brisbane International, QF Preview
🇧🇾 Aliaksandra Sasnovich vs. 🇭🇷 Donna Vekic

An unlikely quarter-final match-up at the Brisbane International sees Aliaksandra Sasnovich come up against Donna Vekic. It is Vekic who heads into this match with a perfect record over Sasnovich and as a result it is Vekic who is the slight favourite to progress.

Donna Vekic of Croatia in action during the second-round match at the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Vekic holds a 2-0 record over Sasnovich. Both of those victories came on a hard court. 6-3 6-1 in Poitiers in 2015 and 6-4 6-4 in San Antonio in 2016. Expect Sasnovich to give a better account of herself on this occasions, especially after claiming one of the biggest wins of her career in the previous round.

Sasnovich secured her spot in the Brisbane quarter-finals by beating the top seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4 0-6 6-3 in a rematch of last year’s final. Prior to that win over Svitolina, Sasnovich claimed a hard-fought 6-4 7-5 win over Anastasia Potapova. Donna Vekic also secured a big win to reach the quarter-finals, saving 2 match points on route to a 7-6 1-6 7-5 win over Kiki Bertens. Vekic cruised past Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1 6-2 in the first round.

This is a big opportunity for both, who will prevail?

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Naomi Osaka vs. Anastasija Sevastova, Brisbane QF Preview

Brisbane International, QF Preview
🇯🇵 (2) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇱🇻 (8) Anastasija Sevastova

An intriguing quarter-final clash at the Brisbane International sees the second seeded Naomi Osaka take on the eighth seeded Anastasija Sevastova. This is an interesting clash because of the great contrast in styles between the pair, the power of Osaka against the versatility of Sevastova.

Osaka and Sevastova have both been untroubled on route to the quarter-finals in Brisbane. Osaka received an opening round bye before defeating Destanee Aiava 6-3 6-2. Whilst Sevastova started the week with a 6-3 6-3 win over Daria Gavrilova before beating Harriet Dart 6-2 -6-0.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

This has proven to be a troublesome match-up for Osaka in recent times. Sevastova won both of the meetings between the pair in 2018, a 6-4 6-1 win in Doha followed by a 6-4 6-4 win in Beijing, both victories on a hard court. Sevastova’s versatile game possess several dilemma’s for Osaka, it will be interesting to see how Osaka handles this match-up on this occasion.

Can Sevastova make it 3 consecutive wins over Osaka?

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Marie Bouzkova, Brisbane R2 Preview

Brisbane International R2. Match Preview
🇨🇿 (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇨🇿 (Q) Marie Bouzkova

Karolina Pliskova enters her second round clash with in-form qualifier Marie Bouzkova as a strong favourite. Pliskova will be playing to reach her third consecutive quarter-final in Brisbane whilst Bouzkova will be aiming to capture the biggest win of her career and a maiden WTA tour level quarter-final birth.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova got off to a shaky start in Brisbane. Pliskova found herself down a set and a break against Yulia Putintseva in her opening match of the season, Pliskova steadied to capture a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory. Pliskova’s level improved as the match went on, her serve was particularly impressive in the third set as she fired down 7 aces and did not face a break point.

Maria Bouzkova has already won 4 matches this week in Brisbane and has beaten several quality opponents. Bouzkova won 3 matches in the qualifying draw including wins over Kostyuk and Golubic. Bouzkova’s opening round win in the main draw came against Samantha Stosur, a 4-6 6-2 6-2 victory. Bouzkova’s level in the second and third sets was very high, Stosur couldn’t handle it.

Can Bouzkova challenge her compatriot in their first career meeting?

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Kiki Bertens vs. Donna Vekic, Brisbane R2 Preview

Brisbane International R2, Match Preview
🇳🇱 (6) Kiki Bertens vs. 🇭🇷 Donna Vekic

Kiki Bertens and Donna Vekic will go head-to-head for the fourth time with a spot in the Brisbane International quarter-finals up for grabs. Vekic heads into this match with a 2-1 record over Bertens but it is Bertens who heads into this match as the favourite and rightfully so.

Kiki Bertens was dealt a very tough opening round draw in Brisbane against the 12th ranked Elise Mertens, the highest unseeded player in the field. The match was predictably very tight, it was Bertens who fought through with a 6-2 6-7 6-4 victory. Bertens served particularly well and showcased how damaging her forehand can be.

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Donna Vekic made a cracking start to her 2019 campaign with a comprehensive 6-1 6-2 drubbing of Magdalena Rybarikova. Vekic’s superior firepower saw her completely dominate proceedings against Rybarikova, Vekic successfully got Rybarikova on the back foot on a consistent basis and didn’t allow Rybarikova to play her game.

Vekic will certainly face a tougher test against Bertens in the next round, can the young Croatian overcome that challenge?

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Anastasija Sevastova vs. Daria Gavrilova, Brisbane R1 Preview

Brisbane International, R1 Preview
🇱🇻 (8) Anastasija Sevastova vs. 🇦🇺 Daria Gavrilova

An interesting opening round match-up at the 2019 Brisbane International sees the 8th seeded Anastasija Sevastova and Daria Gavrilova go head-to-head for the very first time. This should be an entertaining match-up between two of the most versatile players on tour, expect a lot of extended rallies in this one!

Anastasija Sevastova had another solid season in 2018 to end the year at a career high ranking of 11 in the world. Sevastova is uncanny in the way she goes about her business, she seemingly has no big weapons and certainly gives height and power away to many opponents. However, Sevastova’s versatility and supreme touch and anticipation make her a tough opponent for anyone, can the Latvian push on in 2019 and consolidate a spot in the top 10?

Daria Gavrilova is a crowd favourite down under. The Aussie will hope to kick-start her season in style in January where she has generally played pretty well over the last few seasons. Gavrilova faces a tough first-up test in Brisbane against Sevastova, can she use the home crowd advantage to get her over the line?

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Kiki Bertens vs. Elise Mertens, Brisbane R1 Preview

Brisbane International, R1 Preview
🇳🇱 (6) Kiki Bertens vs. 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens

Kiki Bertens will be searching for her first career win over Elise Mertens when the pair go head-to-head in a tough opening round match-up at the Brisbane International. Mertens always loomed as the toughest unseeded opponent, the world number 12 is the highest ranked player in the draw not to be seeded and will potentially be the highest ranked unseeded player heading into any event this year.

Mertens looms as a particularly tough opening round match-up for Bertens given their history. Mertens has won both of the previous meetings between the pair, both on a hard court and both in 2017. Mertens won 6-2 7-5 in Hobart and 4-6 6-4 6-2 in New Haven.

Both Bertens and Mertens have dramatically climbed up the rankings over the last few years, it will be interesting to see which of the pair can consolidate a spot in the top 10 in 2019. A win here would be a great start to the year for both. Who will it be?

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Sloane Stephens vs. Johanna Konta, Brisbane R1 Preview

Brisbane International, R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (3) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇬🇧 Johanna Konta

Sloane Stephens and Johanna Konta will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet in an exciting opening round clash in Brisbane. It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out, a match-up that features an extreme contrast in styles. Konta has a powerful, aggressive game but is very mechanical whilst Stephens has easy power and is a supreme athlete.

Sloane Stephens has struggled during the Australian summer in recent times and will no doubt be focusing on having a great month down under in 2019. Stephens was very inconsistent in 2018, her best is extremely good but she seems to pick and choose when to produce that level. Brisbane is an important tournament for Stephens to gain momentum and confidence heading into the first Grand Slam of the year.

Johanna Konta of Great Britain practices ahead of the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Johanna Konta also had a very inconsistent 2018 season. Unlike Stephens, Konta has started well over the last few years. Konta has made it to the quarter-final stage at the Australian Open in 2 of the last 3 years. The Sydney-born Brit sees Australia as a second home and her game is well suited to the quick hard courts in Brisbane where she made the quarter-finals last year.

Will the third seeded Stephens survive a tough opening round match-up?

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Yulia Putintseva, Brisbane R1 Preview

Brisbane International, R1 Preview
🇨🇿 (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva

Karolina Pliskova and Yulia Putintseva will go head-to-head at the opening round stage of the Brisbane International for the second time. Pliskova thrashed Putintseva 6-3 6-1 when the pair met in Brisbane in 2017. This has traditionally been a great match-up for Pliskova, the former US Open finalist holds a perfect 2-0 record over Putintseva and has never dropped a set to the Kazakh having also claimed a 7-6 6-3 win in Miami in 2017.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic practices ahead of the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova heads into 2019 as arguably the best player on tour to have not won a Grand Slam title, that is the unwanted tag that Pliskova will have to wear in 2019 until she makes a breakthrough. Pliskova is a former champion in Brisbane having won the event in 2017, she is well suited to the fairly quick hard courts in Brisbane.

Yulia Putintseva is making her second appearance in Brisbane. The last direct entry into the draw has once again drawn Karolina Pliskova in the first round, a very tough match-up for Putintseva on a traditionally quick hard court. Nevertheless, Putintseva never shies away from a challenge and will relish the opportunity to claim a big scalp.

Can Putintseva cause a big upset or will Pliskova be too strong?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here