(4) Ana Ivanovic vs (17) Karolina Pliskova
One of Wednesday’s most fascinating third round encounters from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships sees Czech rising star Karolina Pliskova take on fourth seed, Ana Ivanovic.
Ana Ivanovic notched up her first victory since Brisbane with a comprehensive 6-0 6-3 drubbing of a wayward Sabine Lisicki. Ana was hardly challenged throughout the match, she didn’t need to do much as she watched Sabine Lisicki self-destruct on the other side of the net.
Sabine hit a whopping 13 double faults and was unable to hit a single ace, making Ana’s figures of 1 ace and 5 double faults look good. It’s hard to read too much into this match, Ana wasn’t required to play at a very high level. Ana’s service toss was as wayward as ever and she too hit some rather sloppy unforced errors in a match that won’t be making any highlight reels. Nevertheless Ana will take victories any way they come after a lengthy period without a win.
Karolina has continued her impressive early season form in Dubai. Karolina has been extremely consistent in 2015, already racking up 12 victories. After a solid run to the semi-finals in Antwerp, Pliskova has shown no signs of fatigue in Dubai, coming through her first two matches in straight sets.
Karolina played a very clean opening round match, cruising past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-4. In the second round Pliskova proved to be too powerful her compatriot, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Pliskova prevailing 6-4 6-2 to set up a third round clash with Ana Ivanovic.
In their first and only career meeting, Karolina Pliskova famously stunned Ana Ivanovic with a 7-5 6-4 victory in the second round of last years US Open. Surprisingly the match featured 9 breaks of serve and it was Pliskova who was the steadier of the two, producing one of the biggest wins of her young career.
I’m going to pick Pliskova to make it 2 from 2 against Ana. Pliskova comes into this match in much, much better form and is seemingly the more prepared out of the two. This is a tricky matchup for Ana, a matchup that I don’t think she will enjoy. Pliskova’s serve is much more consistent than Ana’s and her groundstrokes are arguably just as effective/damaging.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Ana Ivanovic in 2 sets