Indian Wells R3: (19) Garbine Muguruza vs (14) Karolina Pliskova
Sunday’s most intriguing match at the BNP Paribas Open sees two of the tours most exciting young stars, Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova go head to head for a spot in the fourth round. There is very little to separate these two powerful ladies, both will be looking to assert their dominance over each other in a matchup that we should see a lot more of in the future. A big match for these two, the winner may well go on to reach the later stages of the tournament.
Garbine was expected to dominate her opening round match against American wild card Irina Falconi, but that certainly wasn’t the case. Garbine Muguruza made a scratchy start to her Indian Wells campaign on Saturday. The Spaniard struggled to find any rhythm but eventually snuck past Irina Falconi 4-6 6-2 6-3 in unconvincing fashion.
Garbine struggled throughout most of the match and almost let a 5-0 lead slip in the final set. The Spaniard’s serve failed to fire and she had little rhythm from the baseline. Garbine finished the match with just 1 ace and 5 double faults and hit a whopping 47 unforced errors. Garbine will need to improve dramatically if she is progress any further in Indian Wells.
Karolina Pliskova has been one of the most consistent performers so far this season, if the explosive Czech can continue to maintain such a high level she is a good chance to feature in WTA Finals in Singapore. Karolina Pliskova was also not at her best in her opening round match but got the job done with a 6-3 7-5 victory over Lara Arruabarrena.
The conditions in the Californian desert should suit Karolina, her shots will absolutely fly through the air, but the slower courts will give her a little more time to get to more balls, meaning it will be tougher for opponents to rush her.
The head to head between Garbine and Karolina is currently split at one victory apiece. Karolina won their most recent encounter, an extremely hard fought 6-4 5-7 7-5 victory in the semifinals at the Dubai Duty Free Championships just a couple of weeks ago.
Garbine looked to have the edge for much of the third set, however it was Pliskova who remained composed under pressure and served consistently well when she really needed to.
This is a very tough match to call but I’m leaning towards Karolina on this occasion. Garbine played really poorly in her opening match and has had some injury/illness setbacks recently. With Karolina, you always know what you’re going to get and for this reason I think she is the safer pick. This should be another really close, entertaining match.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 3 sets