(17) Karolina Pliskova vs Garbine Muguruza
The first semifinal from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships features a dream matchup between two of the tours most talented young ladies. Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza have both made excellent starts to their 2015 seasons and will both now have their eyes firmly fixed on obtaining a first premier level title in Dubai.
Karolina has defeated four quality opponents on route to the semifinals in Dubai. Pliskova cruised past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in straight sets before fighting past Ana Ivanovic and Safarova in three sets
Karolina Pliskova reached her third semifinal of the year with a second straight victory over her compatriot, Lucie Safarova. Pliskova found herself down a set and a break but battled hard to ultimately cruise to a 3-6 7-6 6-1.
Pliskova looked down and out midway through the second set, her busy recent schedule seemingly taking its toll on her. However Pliskova found another gear, raising her game to a scary new level. Safarova had no answer as Pliskova's serve became unbreakable.
Garbine Muguruza has also beaten four quality opponents on route to the semifinals. A wayward Garbine battled past Gajdosova in the opening round before thumping Jelena Jankovic and Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets.
Garbine's toughest challenge of the week came in the quarter-finals where she took on her doubles partner, Carla Suarez Navarro. Garbine's powerful serve and aggressive play at the net eventually pulling her over the line, recording a 6-7 6-3 6-3 victory.
Garbine has been extremely impressive this week, especially when under pressure. Her ability to stay calm and take things points by point is admirable.
Garbine Muguruza won the only previous meeting between the pair, a hard-fought 4-6 7-5 6-3 victory at Roland Garros in 2013. A lot has changed since then, both Garbine and Karolina have improved substantially.
There is very little to separate these two but at this stage Garbine seemingly has a slight edge. Both ladies possess powerful serves and punishing groundstrokes, however Garbine has a bit more variety in her game. Garbine will also be the fresher of the two, which could be the biggest difference on this occasion.
Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets