Sloane Stephens vs. Karolina Pliskova, Singapore SF Preview

🇸🇬 WTA Finals, Singapore SF #2 Preview
🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova

Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova will go head-to-head in the second semi-final of the day in Singapore. This match-up features a big contrast in styles, the great versatility and athleticism of Stephens against the rangy power of Pliskova. Stephens has been extremely impressive on throughout the week, winning all 3 of her matches on route to the semi-finals, as a result Stephens enters this match as the favourite and should be a very tough opponent for Pliskova.

Karolina Pliskova’s route to the semi-finals:

(W) vs. Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-4
(L) vs. Elina Svitolina 6-3 2-6 6-3
(W) vs. Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-4

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic celebrates wining her second match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova is through to the semi-finals in Singapore for the second year in a row in her third consecutive appearance at the event. Pliskova started her Singapore campaign in style with a commanding straight set win over Caroline Wozniacki. Pliskova put herself in a tough position with a 3 set loss to Elina Svitolina but rebounded strongly to claim her first ever win over Petra Kvitova and confirm a spot in the final 4. Interestingly Pliskova stated that she was feeling fatigued after her loss to Svitolina, Kvitova provided little resistance so it is hard to know how much to read into that win and whether or not fatigue is still an issue for Pliskova after a long month. Pliskova has been playing sensible tennis this week, playing much more conservatively than she has in the past.

Sloane Stephens’ route to the semi-finals:

(W) vs. Naomi Osaka 7-5 4-6 6-1
(W) vs. Kiki Bertens 7-6 2-6 6-3
(W) vs. Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-3

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her third match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens entered Singapore in poor form having struggled to win matches during the Asian swing. Nevertheless, Stephens has flicked the switch as is often the case for the American at big events. Stephens topped the red group having won all 3 of her matches. Stephens started her WTA Finals debut with tough 3 set wins over Naomi Osaka and Kiki Bertens. Stephens faced Kerber in the last group stage match with the winner set to progress, it was Stephens who far more clutch, winning in straight sets to top the red group. The ability of Stephens to win the big points was key to her win over Kerber, a sign that she is confident right now.

Stephens has the slight edge in the head-to-head record having won 2 of their 3 previous encounters. Stephens won the first two matches between the pair in straight sets, most recently it was Pliskova who won 6-2 6-3 in Madrid earlier this year. Expect a very different result in Singapore.

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Petra Kvitova vs. Karolina Pliskova, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, White Group match preview
🇨🇿 (4) Petra Kvitova vs. 🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova

Fed Cup teammates Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova will go head-to-head in Thursday’s first match from the white group. Kvitova has lost her first two matches this week whilst Pliskova has 1 win and 1 loss to her name. Nevertheless, both Kvitova and Pliskova still have a chance of progressing to the semi-finals, so everything is to play for here. Kvitova has a perfect 3-0 record over Pliskova but it is Pliskova who has generally been in the better form of late, can Pliskova finally secure her first win over Pliskova?

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during her second match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Petra Kvitova has been one of the biggest disappointments of the tournament. Kvitova lost her first match of the week to Elina Svitolina in straight sets before succumbing to Caroline Wozniacki in 3 sets. Kvitova often went for too much in her loss to Svitolina and seemingly tried too hard to reverse that as she was often too passive against Wozniacki. It was strange to see Kvitova willing to get into rallies with Wozniacki and frequently not attack short ball, that tactic backfired and now leaves Kvitova requiring a straight set win here and then relying on Svitolina beating Wozniacki in the next match to progress to the semi-finals.

Karolina Pliskova made a positive start to her third consecutive WTA Finals campaign with a straight set win over defending champion Caroline Wozniacki. However, Pliskova was unable to get over the line against Elina Svitolina in her next match, succumbing in 3 sets. Pliskova admitted after the match that she felt tired after all her recent matches and travels. Pliskova will need to rebound strongly and find more energy if she is to defeat a desperate Petra Kvitova for the first time in her career.

Kvitova enters this match with a perfect 3-0 head-to-head record over Pliskova. The most recent match between the pair took place in Madrid earlier this year, Kvitova won that match 7-6 6-3. Interestingly Kvitova has gone on to win the title every time she has beaten Pliskova.

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Elina Svitolina vs. Karolina Pliskova, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, White Group match preview
🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova

The first spot in the semi-finals at this year’s WTA Finals will be up for grabs when Elina Svitolina takes on Karolina Pliskova in the second match from the white group on Tuesday. Svitolina and Pliskova both made bright starts to their Singapore campaigns with straight set victories over more fancied opponents. This is an interesting match-up because of the contrast in styles, Pliskova has generally had the wood over Svitolina but the Ukrainian has already defied a poor head-to-head record this week and will fancy her chances of doing the same here.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during her first match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina began her second consecutive appearance in Singapore with a noteworthy 6-3 6-3 win over Petra Kvitova. It was clear that Svitolina was pumped for this match and she gave very, very little away on route to victory. Svitolina was at her solid best, a perfect mix of attack and defense totally bamboozled Kvitova. Svitolina will know that a similar style of play will likely get the better of Pliskova here.

Karolina Pliskova was also impressive in her first round victory as she makes her third consecutive appearance in Singapore, defeating defending champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-4. What stood out in Pliskova’s win was her play under pressure, Pliskova saved all 10 break points she faced to remain perfect on serve throughout the match. Pliskova’s aggressive play was too much for Wozniacki to handle, a similar style of play will be required to get the better of Svitolina.

Pliskova holds a 5-2 head-to-head record over Svitolina. However, Svitolina has won the last couple of matches between the pair. The most recent match between the two took place in Brisbane earlier this year, Svitolina won that match 7-5 7-5.

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Caroline Wozniacki vs. Karolina Pliskova, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, White Group match preview
🇩🇰 (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs. 🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova

Caroline Wozniacki begins her title defense in Singapore on Sunday with a clash against Karolina Pliskova in the white group. Wozniacki claimed the biggest title of the career at the time when she won the WTA finals for the first time 12 months ago and will hope to end the most memorable season of her career on a similar high in 2018. Wozniacki has a strong record over Pliskova and enters this match as a clear favourite but can she get the job done?

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in action during the final of the 2018 China Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Wozniacki has not been in the greatest of form for the majority of 2018 but enters the WTA Finals on a high having won the China Open a few weeks ago. The defending champion has thrived in Singapore where the conditions are seemingly perfect for her game. Wozniacki has competed in Singapore twice, she won the event last year whilst in 2014 she claimed 3 big wins before succumbing to Serena Williams in a third set tiebreak at the semi-final stage. The fairly slow, low bouncing courts in Singapore are the perfect conditions for the Dane, she will hope to use that to her advantage as she seeks another big title.

Karolina Pliskova just scrapped into this year’s WTA finals. Pliskova ventured to Moscow last week in an attempt to secure one of 3 remaining spots in Singapore, a first-up loss to Vera Zvonareva in straight sets meant that her destiny was in the hands of other results. Luckily for Pliskova results and withdrawals went her way, Pliskova will make a third consecutive appearance in Singapore. Pliskova’s recent form has been fairly strong during the Asian swing, highlighted by the title in Tokyo and recently reaching the final in Tianjin.

Wozniacki heads into this clash with a 6-3 head-to-head record over Pliskova. The most recent match between the pair took place in Singapore 12 months ago, Wozniacki won 7-6 6-3. Pliskova has had some success in this match-up of late, the pair have split their last 6 matches with 3 wins apiece.

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Serena Williams, US OPEN QF Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: QF Preview
🇨🇿 (8) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇺🇸 (17) Serena Williams

Karolina Pliskova and Serena Williams will go head-to-head for the first time since a 2016 US Open semi-final meeting where Pliskova caused a huge upset. Serena will be keen to avoid a similar fate on Tuesday in New York as the pair do battle for a place in the semi-finals. This is a match between arguably the two best serves on tour, a match-up of fine margins. Who will prevail?

Serena Williams of the United States in action during her fourth-round match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova has now made it through to the quarter-finals at the US Open on 3 consecutive occasions, easily her best Grand Slam, the only Grand Slam where she has made it all the way to the final. Pliskova has made the most of a fairly favourable draw to make to the final 8. The 8th seed has not dropped a set on route to the quarter-finals, beating Zarina Diyas, Ana Bogdan, Sofia Kenin and Ashleigh Barty. Pliskova’s first big test came at the fourth round stage against Barty, Pliskova came through with flying colours, winning 6-4 6-4. Pliskova’s serve was not broken against Barty, Pliskova saved all 8 break points she faced. A Similar serving performance will be required to challenge Williams.

Serena Williams cruised through the first week at Flushing Meadows. The 6-time former champion easily defeated Magda Linette, Carina Witthoeft and Venus Williams to reach the second week. Serena seemed to be heading for another commanding win when she rocketed through the first set against Kaia Kanepi but Serena was surprisingly pushed all the way in a 6-0 4-6 6-3 victory. Serena has played some of her best tennis since her return over the last week in Flushing Meadows, that was particularly true in her 6-1 6-2 demolition of Venus Williams in the third round, the best match she has played this year.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Williams beat Pliskova in straight sets in Stanford in 2014. More recently Pliskova claimed a 6-2 7-6 win over Williams at the semi-final stage at the US Open in 2016. It must be said that Williams was far from 100% fit when they last met, she was severely hampered by injury.

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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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