Simona Halep vs. Karolina Pliskova, Rome Final Preview

🇮🇹🍝 Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome FINAL preview + prediction
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇨🇿 (2) Karolina Pliskova

Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova will renew their rivalry when they meet for the 12th time with the Internazionali BNL d’Italia title up for grabs. Karolina Pliskova will be aiming to successfully defend her title in Rome whilst Halep will be hoping it’s third time lucky as she aims to win her first title in Rome on her third attempt in the championships match. A blockbuster match-up between the top seeds and a pair of former world number 1’s.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during the semi-final of the 2020 Internazionali BNL d’Italia WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Simona Halep survived a strong challenge from Garbine Muguruza to secure her spot in the final. The Romanian secured a hard-fought 6-3 4-6 6-4 victory over the Spaniard in what was by far her biggest test of the tournament. Halep moved through the earlier stages with straight set wins over Jasmine Paolini and Dayana Yastremska as well as a win via retirement over Yulia Putintseva. Halep has now won 13 matches in a row and will playing to win her third consecutive title.

Karolina Pliskova started her title defense in Rome with a couple of straight set wins over Barbora Strycova and Anna Blinkova. Pliskova faced her biggest test at the quarter-final stage where she defeated the 11th seeded Elise Mertens 6-3 3-6 6-0. The second seed secured her spot in Monday’s championship match with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Marketa Vondrousova.
Halep holds a 7-4 head-to-head record over Pliskova. However, Pliskova has won 3 of the last 4 meetings between the pair, including a 6-0 2-6 6-4 victory in their most recent clash at the WTA Finals Shenzhen last year.

This has historically been a great match-up for Halep, I believe this to be true despite Pliskova’s recent success over the Romanian. Halep reads the Pliskova serve better than most, once Halep neutralizes the powerful first strikes of Pliskova it is Halep who has the distinct advantage from the baseline, especially on a clay court. Halep withstood a very strong challenge from Muguruza in the previous round, a challenge that will leave her primed for this final. Halep is in great form at the moment, likes this match-up and likes the conditions.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 2 sets

Karolina Pliskova vs. Marketa Vondrousova, Rome SF Preview

🇮🇹🍝 Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome SF preview + prediction
🇨🇿 (2) Karolina Pliskova vs.🇨🇿 (12) Marketa Vondrousova

Karolina Pliskova is a couple of wins away from successfully defending her title in Rome. The second seeded Pliskova faces a tough test in Sunday’s second semi-final at the Foro Italico when she comes up against reigning Roland Garros runner-up Marketa Vondrousova.

A return to the Roman clay has seen a change in fortunes for Karolina Pliskova who has a poor run in the United States. The 2019 Internazionali BNL d’Italia champion started her 2020 campaign with a 6-3 6-3 win over Barbora Strycova before moving past Anna Blinkova 6-4 6-3. The second seed secured her spot in the semi-finals with a 6-3 3-6 6-0 win over the 11th seeded Elise Mertens.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during her second-round match at the 2020 Internazionali BNL d’Italia WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Marketa Vondrousova is having her best week on tour since she reached the Roland Garros final last year. It has been a roller-coaster week for the 21-year-old. Vondrousova started the week with a 6-1 4-6 6-4 win over Misaki Doi before beating Arantxa Rus 6-3 6-3. The Czech squeezed past Polona Hercog 6-1 1-6 7-6 in in an epic struggle before producing her best performance of the tournament thus far with a 6-3 6-0 win over the 4th seeded Elina Svitolina.

It was Pliskova who won the only previous meeting between the pair, a 6-3 6-4 win at the quarter-final stage of the Miami Open last year.

Vondrousova is a threat to Pliskova on a clay court. However, I’ll stick with Pliskova here. Vondrousova is having a great week but I’m still not convinced she has what it takes to go to the next level. Pliskova’s stronger game and greater mentality under pressure should give her the edge in the critical moments.

Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Marketa Vondrousova in 3 sets

Karolina Pliskova vs. Caroline Garcia, US Open R2 Preview

2020 US OPEN – R2 preview + prediction: ??
?? (1) Karolina Pliskova vs. ?? Caroline Garcia

Arguably the most intriguing second round match-up from the 2020 US Open sees the top seeded Karolina Pliskova take on the always-dangerous Caroline Garcia. Pliskova enters this match as a strong favourite but is unlikely to have things all her own way in a match-up that she has previously struggled in. A danger match for the top seed early in the tournament.

The 2020 US Open is perhaps Karolina Pliskova’s greatest chance to finally win a major title. Pliskova was the runner-up at Flushing Meadows in 2016 and will hoping she can go one step further in a weakened field with many of her main rivals not in attendance. Pliskova made a good start to the tournament with a 6-4 6-0 win over Anhelina Kalinina but will face a much, much tougher test in the next round.

The US Open has historically been Caroline Garcia’s least successful major, the only major that the Frenchwoman hasn’t reached the second week in singles. Nevertheless, Garcia made a solid start to her 2020 campaign at Flushing Meadows with an easy 6-3 6-2 win over Jasmine Paolini.

The head-to-head record between Pliskova and Garcia is split at 3 wins apiece. The most recent meeting between the pair saw Garcia emerge victorious in the 2018 Tianjin final, a 7-6 6-3 win for Garcia. All 6 of the previous meetings between the pair were tight matches, 3 of them went the distance, the other 3 were very close 2 set matches.

I’m going to go for the upset here. Garcia has what it takes to bring down the top seeded Pliskova. Garcia’s strong return of serve is the problem for Pliskova in this match-up, Garcia’s ability to handle the Pliskova serve is greater than most on tour, importantly Garcia can also manage her own service games nicely in this match-up. Meanwhile, Garcia has the greater flare and variety from the baseline and a stronger game at the net. The quick surface will give Garcia the chance to dominate and to rush Pliskova with her early ball striking and ability to quickly move up the court. The pressure is all on Pliskova in this match, another factor working in Garcia’s favour. Upset alert!

Prediction: Caroline Garcia to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets
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Ashleigh Barty vs. Karolina Pliskova, WTA Finals Shenzhen SF Preview

???? WTA Finals – Shenzhen SF #2 preview
?? (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. ?? (2) Karolina Pliskova

The top 2 players in the world will do battle in the second semi-final from Shenzhen as Ash Barty comes up against Karolina Pliskova. This is one of the tour’s most competitive match-ups, the pair have split their 4 tour level meetings and both will head into this match with confidence. Who will book their place in Sunday’s final at the WTA Finals Shenzhen?

Ash Barty has secured her spot as season ending number 1 and is now a few wins away from securing her first WTA Finals crown. Barty has probably secured her status as player of the year in 2019 and will certainly have that honour if she can go on to win the title this week. It has been an up and down week for Barty. The Aussie started the event with a comeback win over Belinda Bencic in 3 sets before succumbing to Kiki Bertens in 3 sets from a set and a break up. The Reigning Roland Garros champion secured her spot in the final 4 with a commanding straight set victory over Petra Kvitova to finish on top of the red group.

Karolina Pliskova is through to her third consecutive semi-final at the WTA Finals. Pliskova will be hoping it is a case of third time lucky as she aims to reach the final of the event for the first time at her third attempt. Pliskova’s week started in disappointment as she was beaten by Elina Svitolina in straight sets. Pliskova received a lifeline in her second group match when Bianca Andreescu retired injured. It was all or nothing for Pliskova and Simona Halep in the final match from the red group and it was Pliskova who came out on top 6-0 2-6 6-4.

Barty holds a slight 3-2 head-to-head record over Pliskova. The pair have split their last 4 meetings at the tour level, each match was reasonably tight. There has been at least 1 tiebreak set in 4 of their 5 matches and at least 1 close set in each match. It was Barty who emerged victorious in their most recent match, a 7-6 6-3 win for the Aussie in the Miami Open final earlier this year.

I’m going to side with Barty here. On a very slow court, the variety and consistency of Barty should give her the slight edge over Pliskova. The Barty slice could be especially troublesome for Pliskova on this surface, especially at the end of the season when footwork isn’t necessarily as sharp. Importantly, Barty can match the power and accuracy of Pliskova on serve, Barty’s return is slightly stronger and I would give the Aussie the edge in neutral baseline exchanges.

Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets

Karolina Pliskova vs. Simona Halep, Shenzhen RR Preview

???? WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview
?? (2) Karolina Pliskova vs. ?? (5) Simona Halep

The fourth and final semi-final spot will be up for grabs at the WTA Finals Shenzhen on Friday evening as Karolina Pliskova takes on Simona Halep in the final match from the red group. The scenario is simple, the winner will finish second in the group and reach the final 4, the loser is out. It is Halep who heads into this match as the favourite given this has generally been a favourable match-up for the reigning Wimbledon champion who holds a 7-3 record over Pliskova.

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Karolina Pliskova hasn’t been too impressive thus far in Shenzhen but thanks to some good fortune she can still turn things around. Pliskova was beaten by Elina Svitolina in straight sets in her opening match before defeating Bianca Andreescu via retirement to keep her hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive.

Simona Halep has played decent tennis this week in Shenzhen, especially given her fairly limited preparation. Halep started the event with an epic 3-6 7-6 6-3 win over Bianca Andreescu from set point down in the second set. Halep couldn’t get the job done in her second match where she fell to Elina Svitolina in a tight straight set match. Despite losing to Svitolina, Halep wasn’t disgraced, Svitolina is simply the best player in the field at the moment.

Halep may hold a dominant 7-3 record over Pliskova but it is Pliskova who has won 2 of their last 3 meetings. The most recent match between the pair took place in Miami earlier this year, it was Pliskova who won 7-5 6-1. This will surprisingly be the first meeting between the pair at the WTA Finals despite both regularly featuring in the event over the last 6 years.

I’m going to side with Halep here. Halep has such a favourable record over Pliskova for a reason. This is a bad match-up for Pliskova, Halep is able to read and neutralize the Pliskova serve better than anyone, once Halep gets into a baseline battle with Pliskova she is a huge favourite. The slow, lifeless court in Shenzhen will significantly favour Halep in this match-up as she will be able to get into more baseline rallies where she can expose the weaknesses in the Pliskova game.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 2 sets

Karolina Pliskova vs. Bianca Andreescu, Shenzhen RR Preview

???? WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview
?? (2) Karolina Pliskova vs. ?? (4) Bianca Andreescu

A critical clash from the purple group sees the second seeded Karolina Pliskova take on the fourth seeded Bianca Andreescu. Pliskova and Andreescu were both defeated in their opening group stage matches, meaning this is virtually an elimination match. Andreescu upset Pliskova in Toronto earlier this year in their only previous meeting, can Pliskova avenge that loss or will Andreescu’s variety be too much for Pliskova to handle?

Karolina Pliskova has been one of the most consistent players over the last few seasons and has won more titles than any other player in 2019. However, Pliskova continues to struggle against the very best, her poor recent record against top 10 opponent was extended on Day 2 in Shenzhen as she was defeated by Elina Svitolina in straight sets, a 6-7 4-6 loss for the Czech. Pliskova had her chances in a lengthy opening set before eventually succumbing 12-14 in a tiebreak. There were enough promising signs to suggest Pliskova can bounce back in Shenzhen.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic practices ahead of the 2019 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Bianca Andreescu was extremely close to make a winning start in her WTA Finals debut. Andreescu held match point to claim a straight set win over Simona Halep but couldn’t convert and was eventually overrun by the Romanian, a 6-3 6-7 3-6 defeat for Andreescu. The Canadian complained about a back injury after her defeat to Halep but it is hard to know how much to read into that given she always seems to have an excuse after a loss. Andreescu has a strong record over top 10 opponents in 2019 so she will still have hope that she can move through the group stage.

It was Andreescu who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-0 2-6 6-4 victory at the Rogers Cup earlier this year.

I’m going to side with Pliskova here. The Indoor conditions seemingly suit Pliskova’s game, the Czech played a good match against Svitolina but some unforced errors in critical moments cost her the match. Pliskova’s first strike tennis has the ability to take control away from Andreescu, the Canadian isn’t as strong when defending and is seemingly losing some steam as a long season comes to an end. Pliskova therefore seems in better shape heading into this match and is seemingly favoured by the conditions.

Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Bianca Andreescu in 3 sets

Karolina Pliskova vs. Elina Svitolina, Shenzhen RR Preview

???? WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview
?? (2) Karolina Pliskova vs. ?? (8) Elina Svitolina

Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina will renew hostilities when they go head-to-head on the opening day of matches from the purple group at the WTA Finals Shenzhen. Pliskova and Svitolina have followed similar pathways over the last few years, arguably the two best players on tour at the moment not to win a major title. Svitolina played inspired tennis to win this event in Singapore last year, can the Ukrainian regain that stunning form this time around to defend her title?

Karolina Pliskova arrives in Shenzhen as the number 2 player in the word but she certainly isn’t one of the favourites this week. Pliskova has a poor record against her fellow elite 8 members and hasn’t been in the best form of late. Pliskova managed to win just 1 match during the Wuhan, Beijing double. To her credit, Pliskova has had another solid season but when the going gets tough she usually stumbles.

Elina Svitolina booked her spot in the WTA Finals in the final few weeks of the season for a second year in a row. The 2018 Singapore champion knows what it takes to win this tournament, Svitolina spectacularly won all 5 matches of her matches at the event last year to become one of the most deserving champions of the event in recent times. Svitolina brings decent form into this years event having reached 3 quarter-finals during the Asian swing.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic practices ahead of the 2019 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Pliskova holds a 5-3 record over Svitolina. However, Svitolina has won the last 3 matches between the pair and in general I would think that this match-up favours the Ukrainian. The most recent match between the pair took place at the WTA Finals last year, Svitolina won 6-3 2-6 6-3.

I’m going to side with Svitolina here. Pliskova struggles in these match-ups against the best counter-punchers, Pliskova has bad recent records against Halep, Kerber and has lost her last 3 matches against Svitolina. Pliskova needs to be at her very best to win these matches, Svitolina is so consistent that it means Pliskova needs to redline to hit through the Ukrainian. Once Svitolina gets into a neutral rally with Pliskova she has the big advantage, Svitolina should be able to get into enough of those to get over the line. Svitolina is tougher and is in better form at the moment.

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets

Karolina Pliskova vs. Kristina Kucova, Roland Garros R2 Preview

???? Roland Garros, R2 Preview
?? (2) Karolina Pliskova vs. ?? (Q) Kristina Kucova

Karolina Pliskova continues her quest for maiden Grand Slam title on Wednesday with a second round clash against Slovakian qualifier Kristina Kucova. The second seed is one of the form players on tour at the moment having recently won the biggest clay court title of her career in Rome. Pliskova is a former semi-finalist in Paris and will be hoping to go a step further in 2019.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova made a strong start to her 2019 Roland Garros campaign with a straight set win over Madison Brengle. Pliskova was a class above her American opponent as she claimed a comfortable 6-2 6-3 victory. Clay has traditionally been considered Pliskova’s worst surface but some of her best career results have come on clay, it will be interesting to see just how far Pliskova can go over the next fortnight.

Kristina Kucova has already played a heap of tennis in Paris. Kucova has won 4 matches having come through the qualifying draw, all of those matches were won in straight sets. Kucova booked her spot in the second round with an impressive 6-4 6-2 victory against Svetlana Kuznetsova. Despite a ranking of 203 in the world it is clear that Kucova is playing good tennis at the moment.

Pliskova holds a perfect 3-0 record over Kucova. The only tour level meeting between the pair took place in Tianjin in 2015, a very competitive match which Pliskova won 3-6 6-3 7-5. Can Kucova trouble Pliskova again?

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Simona Halep vs. Karolina Pliskova, Miami SF Preview

??? Miami Open, SF #2 Preview
?? (2) Simona Halep vs. ?? (5) Karolina Pliskova

Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova will renew hostilities when they do battle on Thursday evening with a spot in the Miami Open final up for grabs. Halep and Pliskova are familiar foes, this will be the 10th career meeting between the two former world number 1’s. Halep has been fairly dominant in this match-up in recent times and looks set to continue that dominance in Miami.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her quarter-final match at the 2019 Miami Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Simona Halep is just 1 victory away from recapturing the world number 1 ranking and reaching her first Miami final. Halep’s form has generally been good over the last few months, the only thing missing is a title, that should change over the next few days. Halep started her Miami campaign with a commanding straight set win over Taylor Townsend before battling past Polona Hercog 6-7 7-6 6-2 in what was her biggest test of the event so far. Halep booked her spot in the final 4 with straight set wins over Venus Williams and Qiang Wang.

Karolina Pliskova is through to yet another Miami semi-final. Pliskova hasn’t always done things the easy way on route to the final 4. Pliskova started the event with a fairly comfortable straight set win over Petra Martic before coming from a set down to defeat Alize Cornet and Yulia Putintseva. Pliskova produced a far more consistent performance to secure her semi-final spot as she defeated Marketa Vondrousova 6-3 6-4.

Halep holds a 7-2 head-to-head record over Pliskova. Halep has won 4 of the last 5 matches between the pair including a 6-4 5-7 6-4 victory in their most recent match during a Fed Cup tie earlier this year. Halep holds an overall 6-1 record over Pliskova on hard courts.

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Anett Kontaveit, Indian Wells R4 Preview

??? BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
?? (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. ?? (21) Anett Kontaveit

A hard-hitting fourth round battle from the BNP Paribas Open sees the 5th seeded Karolina Pliskova take on the 21st seeded Anett Kontaveit. Pliskova rightfully heads into this clash as the favourite given her far greater form of late and her superior consistency. However, Kontaveit is a threat and should have her chances in this match.

Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova laboured her way through her opening round match in Indian Wells after receiving a bye through the first round. Pliskova was surprisingly forced to come from a set down to get past Misaki Doi, Pliskova eventually prevailed 6-7 6-1 6-1. Pliskova produced an improved performance in the third round where she beat Ysaline Bonaventure 6-3 6-2. Pliskova is likely to face her first real test in the next round against Kontaveit.

Anett Kontaveit has not had to play much tennis to make her way through to the fourth round in Indian Wells. Kontaveit received a bye through the first round before beating Monica Puig 6-3 7-6. Kontaveit received a lucky break in the third round as she was handed victory by an injured Anastasija Sevastova as the Estonian led the first set 5-0. Kontaveit has generally had a lacklustre season thus far and seemingly needs a big win such as a win over Pliskova to ignite her season.

It was Pliskova who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-4 6-2 in Stuttgart last year.

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