Wuhan R3: (12) Elina Svitolina vs (8) Karolina Pliskova
A fascinating third round encounter at the Wuhan Open sees two of the tours rising stars go head-to-head, 2014 Wuhan semi-finalist Elina Svitolina up against Karolina Pliksova. Both ladies are still in contention to reach their first WTA Finals campaign in Singapore, Pliskova is a much more realistic chance.
Svitolina started her Asian campaign last week in Tokyo, the Ukrainian stormed through her first round match with Olga Savchuk but would succumb to the eventual champion Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round. Wuhan holds great memories for Elina Svitolina, it was at the 2014 Wuhan Open that the Ukrainian really made a name for herself as reached the semi-final stage before succumbing to the eventual champion Petra Kvitova. Svitolina has made a confident start this week, winning her opening round matches in straight sets. The Ukrainian recorded a 6-4 6-4 win over Daniela Hantuchova before defeating Varvara Lepchenko 6-4 6-2. Elina was relatively untroubled in both matches.
Karolina Pliskova also succumbed to Agnieszka Radwanska last week in Tokyo, knocked out of the event at the quarter-final stage. Karolina received a bye into the second round in Wuhan where she picked up an extremely hard-fought 7-6 5-7 7-6 victory over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Pliskova avenging her loss to the Croatian earlier this year. The match was extremely close, Lucic-Baroni served for the match in the third set, but it was Pliskova who played better when it mattered most. Pliskova came up with some stunning shots towards the end of the deciding set tiebreak, rocketing her way into the third round.
Karolina Pliskova holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over the Ukrainian number 1. Both of their prior meetings took place on clay, Pliskova emerged victorious 2-6 6-1 6-2 in Nuremberg last year in what was their most recent match. I feel like this is a good opportunity for Svitolina to record her first win over Pliskova. The Ukrainian is in very good form and looks as fresh and determined as she has all year, the same can’t be said for Pliksova who seems to be running out of gas.