(22) Karolina Pliskova vs (10) Ekaterina Makarova
One of Fridays most fascinating third round encounters sees Karolina Pliskova take on Ekaterina Makarova in what promises to be an extremely close match. Makarova always plays well in Melbourne whilst Pliskova is one of the form players on tour.
After a relatively comfortable opening round victory over Rodina, Pliskova just snuck past Oceane Dodin 7-5 5-7 6-4 in the second round . Karolina will need to significantly raise her level if she is to progress past Ekaterina Makarova.
Pliskova has already had some solid results against quality left handed opponents this year. In Sydney Karolina smashed Angelique Kerber in the Semi-Finals before succumbing in an extremely tight final against Petra Kvitova. The fact that her twin sister is left handed would also mean she is quite comfortable with a lefties serve.
Ekaterina Makarova's pathway to the third round has been far more straightforward. The Russian is yet to drop a set, cruising past Roberta Vinci 6-2 6-4 in the second round.
One big advantage that Karolina may have in this match is that she has already played in some big matches this year and has emerged victorious on several of those occasions. Makarova on the other hand hasn't played many matches in the lead to Melbourne, this will be a step up for her.
These two have met on just one previous occasion, it was Makarova who prevailed 6-3 7-6 in the 2014 Pattaya City final.
This certainly looks like being an extremely tight match, it's difficult to pick a winner. I'm leaning towards Karolina to continue her extremely bright start to 2015.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Ekaterina Makarova in three sets