Karolina Pliskova vs. Kiki Bertens, Wimbledon R4 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R4 Preview
🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇳🇱 (20) Kiki Bertens

Karolina Pliskova and Kiki Bertens will go head-to-head on ‘manic Monday’ at SW19. This is the first time both Pliskova and Bertens have reached the fourth round stage at Wimbledon, a huge opportunity for both to reach the final 8 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Pliskova easily defeated Bertens earlier this year in Stuttgart. Can Bertens, fresh off an big upset win over Venus Williams reverse their previous result and cause yet another upset?

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic during the third round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Karolina Pliskova arrived at Wimbledon in average form and having lost at the second round stage in her last 5 appearances at Wimbledon. The 7th seed broke her Wimbledon hoodoo to reach the second week for the first time thanks to a couple of tough victories. Pliskova started the tournament off with a fairly poor performance, beating local wild-card Harriet Dart in 3 sets. Pliskova dramatically improved her level as she comfortably defeated Victoria Azarenka 6-2 6-3 before fighting from a set and 1-4 down to defeat Mihaela Buzarnescu 3-6 7-6 6-1. Pliskova is the only top 10 seed remining in her half of the draw.

Kiki Bertens is through to the second week of a Grand Slam for the third time in her career, the first time away from Roland Garros. The 20th seed cruised through her first couple of matches, beating Barbora Stefkova and Anna Blinkova in straight sets. Bertens claimed one of the biggest wins of her career on Friday as she eliminated 5-time former champion Venus Williams 6-2 6-7 8-6. After losing a tight second set and going down an early break in the decider it seemed Bertens was heading for the exit door, Bertens rebounded strongly to claim a memorable win.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece at the tour level. The only recent match between the pair was earlier this year on clay in Stuttgart, Pliskova claimed a comfortable 6-2 6-2 victory.

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Victoria Azarenka, Wimbledon R2 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R2 Preview
🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka

A blockbuster second round clash from Wimbledon on Wednesday sees the 7th seeded Karolina Pliskova take on Victoria Azarenka. This is the pick of the second round matches at SW19, a match-up that sees two former world number 1’s going head-to-head. A real heavyweight battle. This has been a very competitive match-up in recent times, Azarenka holds a slender 3-2 H2H advantage but this will be their first career meeting on grass. Who will prevail?

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during the first round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Karolina Pliskova will be aiming to move past the second round at Wimbledon for the very first time, a bizarre record for a former world number 1. Pliskova made an unconvincing start to her Wimbledon campaign on Monday, the big serving Czech laboured to a 7-6 2-6 6-1 win over local wild card: Harriet Dart. Pliskova looked in trouble as she faced break points in the very first game of the third set but she did raise her intensity and was ultimately too powerful for her inexperienced opponent. In general, Pliskova has not been at her best in the last month, she had disappointing results in Birmingham and Eastbourne before arriving at Wimbledon where she made a poor start.

Victoria Azarenka also survived a big scare in the opening round, a different type of scare. The Belarussian suffered a nasty fall in the first set of her opening round match with Ekaterina Alexandrova but she recovered well enough to claim a 7-6 6-3 victory. Azarenka seems to be in a good place at the moment, her recent results have not been great but one would think that is going to change very soon.

Azarenka holds a 3-2 H2H record over Pliskova. It was Pliskova who the most recent match between the pair, a 6-2 1-6 7-5 victory in Madrid earlier this year. The pair met on one other occasion in 2018, a 7-5 6-3 win to Azarenka in Miami. It will be interesting to see how this match-up unfolds on a grass court for the first time.

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Aryna Sabalenka, Eastbourne QF Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley International, Eastbourne QF Preview
🇨🇿 (2) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇧🇾 Aryna Sabalenka

An exciting quarter-final match-up in Eastbourne sees the second seeded Karolina Pliskova take on Aryna Sabalenka, a match-up between two powerful and extremely aggressive players. This will be the first career meeting between the pair, it will be interesting to see how troublesome the Belarusian can be to the defending champion at the Nature Valley International.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in action during her third round match at the 2018 Nature Valley International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova stared her title defense in Eastbourne with a 6-4 2-6 6-3 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The second seed produced an improved performance in her next match as she easily defeated Barbora Strycova 6-3 6-4 in what could have potentially been a tough match.

It has been a tough week for Sabalenka, but a very rewarding week. Sabalenka has threatened to have a big breakthrough all year, finally in was happened with back-to-back wins over top 20 opponents for the first time. Sabalenka started the week with back-to-back wins from a set down, a 4-6 6-0 6-1 win over Sachia Vickery and a 1-6 6-4 6-4 win over Julia Goerges. The Belarusian arguably claimed the biggest win of her career as she defeated Elise Mertens 7-5 2-6 7-6, a gutsy win from a break down in the deciding set.

Don’t expect many long rallies in this match-up, this will be first-strikes tennis at its finest, who will prevail?

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Maria Sharapova, Roland Garros R3 Preview

Roland Garros, R3 Preview
🇨🇿 (6) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇷🇺 (28) Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova will face her first major test of the tournament on Saturday when she comes up against the 6th seeded Karolina Pliskova at the third round stage at Roland Garros. This is a huge opening week test for both Pliskova and Sharapova, both have been in great form of late and both will be keen to claim a statement victory and announce their title credentials in Paris.

Maria Sharapova of Russia in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova continues to defy the critics and perform well on the red dirt. The 2017 Roland Garros semi-finalist started her 2018 campaign with a 7-6 6-4 win over Barbora Krejcikova before claiming a gutsy 3-6 6-4 6-1 win over Lucie Safarova. Pliskova flirted with danger in her match with Safarova as she found herself having to save break point to avoid going down a set and a break midway through the second set, Pliskova came through and did not face another break point for the entire match.

Maria Sharapova arrived in Paris high on confidence after runs to the quarter-finals in Madrid and the semi-finals in Rome. However, it was not a confident start to the tournament for Sharapova who laboured to a 6-1 4-6 6-3 victory over Richel Hogenkamp. Sharapova was down 0-3 in the deciding set against Hogenkamp before winning 6 straight games to avoid a shock loss. Sharapova produced a better performance in the second round as she defeated Donna Vekic 7-5 6-4, the Russian was notably more solid at the important moments in this match.

The only previous match between the pair took place in a Fed Cup tie in 2015, Sharapova won that match 6-3 6-4 on a hard court in Prague. Much has changed since then, can Pliskova reverse that result?

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Lucie Safarova, Roland Garros R2 Preview

Roland Garros, R2 Preview
🇨🇿 (6) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova

A fascinating second round clash at Roland Garros on Thursday sees the 6th seeded Karolina Pliskova take on compatriot Lucie Safarova. Pliskova is one of the form players on tour at the moment, the Czech has not usually been considered a great threat on clay but the last 12 months have suggested otherwise. The 2017 Roland Garros semi-finalist looms as a real contender for the title in Paris given her great recent form on clay. Pliskova will face her first big test when she faces Safarova for a spot in the third round.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during her first-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova started her 2018 Roland Garros campaign with a hard-fought 7-6 6-4 win over Barbora Krejcikova. Pliskova was down in each set, Krejcikova served for the opening set and held a 4-1 lead in the second set so it was a great effort from Pliskova to come through that match in straight sets. Pliskova has now amassed an impressive 11-3 win/loss record on clay in 2018, it is clear that she must be considered a genuine threat on this surface.

Lucie Safarova’s preparations for Paris were not great. Safarova only recently returned to the tour after a 3-month absence due to illness/injury. Safarova was beaten by Hsieh in the second round in Strasbourg last week so it is fair to say there are little expectations of the 2015 finalist in Paris. Nevertheless, Safarova started her 2018 campaign with a solid 6-4 6-1 win over Jessika Ponchet, Pliskova in the next round will be a far greater test.

Pliskova holds a strong 6-2 head-to-head advantage over Safarova. Indeed Pliskova has won 6 of their last 7 matches, including the last 3. Most recently Pliskova claimed a tight 7-6 7-5 win at the Australian Open earlier this year. Whilst Pliskova has a great record over Safarova, their matches are always close and Safarova has actually won 2 of their 3 matches on clay. Can Safarova cause an upset in Paris?

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Simona Halep vs. Karolina Pliskova, Madrid QF Preview

Mutua Madrid Open, QF Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇨🇿 (6) Karolina Pliskova

Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova will renew hostilities when they meet at the quarter-final stage of the Mutua Madrid Open. This has historically been a very successful match-up for Halep, the Romanian holds a dominant 6-1 H2H record over Pliskova. There have been no signs that Halep’s incredible winning streak in Madrid is coming to an end any time soon, the 2-time defending champion will however face her greatest test of the tournament thus far against Pliskova who is in great form herself, can Pliskova cause a big upset?

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open

Halep has cruised into the quarter-finals in Madrid without dropping a set. The world number 1 has now won 15 matches in a row in Madrid and is 3 wins away from becoming the first player to win the title in Madrid on 3 separate occasions, it would also be the first time Halep has won the same tournament on 3 occasions. Halep has claimed straight set wins over Ekaterina Makarova, Elise Mertens and Kristyna Pliskova, the Romanian never really looked troubled in any of those matches and looms as the strong favourite to win the title from here.

Karolina Pliskova is currently on a surprising 8-match winning streak on clay, the surface that has widely been considered her weakest. Pliskova has proven over the last 12 months that her game can work on clay, the 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist and recently crowned Stuttgart champion has certainly improved her movement and defensive capabilities on clay. Pliskova has come through a tough draw to reach the quarter-final stage in Madrid for the first time, the 6th seed started the week with a straight set win over Elena Vesnina before battling past Victoria Azarenka in 3 sets in what was a significant win for the Czech. Pliskova confirmed her spot in the final 8 with a clinical 6-2 6-3 thrashing of Sloane Stephens.

As mentioned above it is Halep who holds a dominant 6-1 head-to-head record over Pliskova. The previous matches between these two have shown that Halep is able to read the Pliskova serve better than anyone else on tour. Halep comfortably defeated Pliskova in their most recent match at the Australian Open earlier this year, an easy 6-3 6-2 victory. Halep has won the last 3 matches between the pair and 5 of her 6 wins over Pliskova were in straight sets. The signs are ominous for Pliskova.

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Sloane Stephens, Madrid R3 Preview

Mutua Madrid Open, R3 Preview
🇨🇿 (6) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇺🇸 (9) Sloane Stephens

Two of the form players on the WTA tour will collide at the third round stage of the Mutua Madrid Open when Karolina Pliskova takes on Sloane Stephens on Wednesday. Pliskova and Stephens have both won big titles in recent times, Pliskova won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart whilst Stephens won the Miami Open. Pliskova and Stephens have both already had significant wins in Madrid and will both enter this clash full of confidence, who will prevail?

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open

Karolina Pliskova is on a 7-match winning streak, on clay! Pliskova arrived in Madrid on a high after winning the title in Stuttgart, her biggest tile on a clay court. The 2017 Roland Garros semi-finalist has clearly dramatically improved her game on clay over the last few years and is not to be ignored on this surface. Pliskova started her Madrid campaign with a comfortable straight set win over Elena Vesnina before battling past Victoria Azarenka 6-2 1-6 7-5. Pliskova showed great mental strength to outlast Azarenka in a tight final set where both had chances to take control, Pliskova’s great serving under pressure and discipline from the baseline gave her the edge and allowed to claim a significant win.

Sloane Stephens has stormed through her first couple of matches in Madrid. The American eased past Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Samantha Stosur to secure her spot in the third round in Madrid for the first time in her career. Stephens has made great progress over the last few months after a slow start to the year, If the reigning U.S Open champion can consistently bring her a-game she will be competing for the biggest titles over the next few months.

Stephens has won the only previous matches between the pair, both in straight sets. 6-2 6-2 at Wimbledon in 2012 and 6-3 6-2 in Beijing in 2015.

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Kristyna Pliskova, Prague R1 Preview

J&T Banka Prague Open, R1 Preview
🇨🇿 (1) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇨🇿 Kristyna Pliskova

The Pliskova twins will go head-to-head for the first time since 2013 when they meet at the opening round stage in Prague. It is Karolina who enters this clash on a high fresh off winning the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. Whilst the locals will be looking forward to this clash, the Pliskova’s certainly are not, this will be an awkward encounter as both have indicated that they do not like this match-up. Both have had previous success in Prague, Karolina won the event in 2015 whilst Kristyna was the runner-up in 2017.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during the final of the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Karolina Pliskova made the ideal start to her 2018 clay court season by claiming her 10th title as she won in Stuttgart, her biggest title on a clay court. The highlight of Pliskova’s week in Stuttgart was her strong serving, Pliskova served 52 aces which was the most aces anyone has served in 1 tournmant in 2018. It was a tough week for Pliskova, she was forced to beat 4 top 30 opponents on route to the title, a 7-6 6-4 win over CoCo Vandeweghe in the final secured her first title of the year.

Kristyna Pliskova also made a good start to her 2018 clay court season a few weeks ago where she claimed a couple of big wins on route to the quarter-final stage in Charleston. Kristyna claimed 3 upset wins in a row in Charleston, beating Katerina Siniakova, Petra Kvitova and Elena Vesnina to reach the quarter-finals before succumbing to Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets. More recently Kristyna suffered a straight set loss at the hands of Camila Giorgi in Lugano.

It is Karolina who holds a slight 5-4 H2H record over Kristyna. The pair have only met on one occasion at the WTA level, a 7-6 3-6 6-3 win for Kristyna on grass in Eastbourne way back in 2013. Clearly it is Karolina who has been the far better player over the last few years but in a match-up with little margin, an upset is still a possibility.

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Karolina Pliskova vs. CoCo Vandeweghe, 🏆 Stuttgart Final Preview

Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, 🏆 Stuttgart Final Preview
🇨🇿 (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇺🇸 (wc) CoCo Vandeweghe

A surprise final in Stuttgart will feature Karolina Pliskova and CoCo Vandeweghe, two players that are not expected to be featuring on the final day of a big clay court event. The Stuttgart courts have proven to be a haven for the big server over the last week. Pliskova and Vandeweghe have both been extremely strong behind their serves on route to the final. The serve is the biggest weapon for both players, when that shot is firing both are very dangerous. Expect to see a close final with few breaks of serve.

Coco Vandeweghe of the United States in action during her semi-final match at the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

It has been a long, successful week for Pliskova in Stuttgart. Pliskova started the week in Stuttgart in Fed Cup action where the Czech Republic beat Germany to reach yet another final. Pliskova started her PTGP campaign with a comfortable win over Kiki Bertens before blasting 15 aces past Veronika Kudermetova in the second round. Pliskova’s biggest test came at the quarter-final stage where she rallied from a set down to beat Jelena Ostapenko 5-7 7-5 6-4. Pliskova booked her spot in her first final of the season with a reasonably comfortable 6-4 6-2 over Anett Kontaveit. What has stood out has been Pliskova’s improved movement and ability to defend, especially in her last two matches against powerful opposition.

CoCo Vandeweghe has been surprisingly impressive this week. Vandeweghe herself admitted earlier in the week that she will probably never like clay, perhaps she will change her mind after this week? Vandeweghe started the event with a straight set drubbing of Sloane Stephens before battling past defending champion Laura Siegemund 6-4 4-6 6-3. Vandeweghe claimed back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents to reach her first final of the year, a 6-4 6-1 win over Simona Halep and 6-4 6-2 over Caroline Garcia. When Vandeweghe is on a roll she is hard to stop but her record at the pointy end of big events is not great.

Vandeweghe heads into Sunday’s final with a 3-2 H2H record over Pliskova. Vandeweghe has won 3 of the last 4 matches between the pair and has proven to be a frustrating opponent for Pliskova in recent times. This was especially true during their latest match where Pliskova suffered a frustrating 6-7 3-6 loss at the hands of the American at the quarter-final stage of the U.S Open. What is in Pliskova favour is the fact she won their only previous match on clay, a 7-6 6-4 win In Stuttgart last year.

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Anett Kontaveit, Stuttgart SF Preview

Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart SF #2 Preview
🇨🇿 (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇪🇪 Anett Kontaveit

Karolina Pliskova and Anett Kontaveit will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet in Saturday’s second semi-final for the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart. Pliskova and Kontaveit both booked their spot in the semi-finals with hard-fought 3 set victories, both are match-hardened and full of confidence heading into this match. This looks like a great opportunity for both to reach their first final of 2018, both will see this as a winnable match, who will step up and grab this opportunity?

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action in her quarter-final match at the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Karolina Pliskova has continued her incredibly consistent start to the season this week in Stuttgart. Pliskova has reached at least the quarter-final stage at 6 of the 7 events she has competed in this year, however she is yet to make it all the way to a final. Pliskova started her Stuttgart campaign with an impressive 6-2 6-2 demolition of Kiki Bertens before hitting 15 aces on route to a 7-6 6-3 win over Veronika Kudermetova. Pliskova booked her spot in the final 4 with a gutsy 5-7 7-5 6-4 win over Jelena Ostapenko. It is clear that Pliskova has improved her game on clay, especially her movement and ability to defend.

Anett Kontaveit arrived in Stuttgart with 4 consecutive losses to her name and seemingly very little confidence. The Estonian has been able to get over the line in a couple of tough matches this week and had a little fortune along the way to reach her first semi-final of the year. Kontaveit started the week with a 5-7 7-6 7-6 win over Kristina Mladenovic before benefiting from the retirement of Angelique Kerber it the second round. Kontaveit booked her spot in the final 4 via a marathon 3-hour 7-5 6-7 6-3 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Kontaveit has done well to get through 2 very tight matches this week.

It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out in what will be the first career meeting between the pair.

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