Mutua Madrid Open, QF Preview
?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? (6) Karolina Pliskova
Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova will renew hostilities when they meet at the quarter-final stage of the Mutua Madrid Open. This has historically been a very successful match-up for Halep, the Romanian holds a dominant 6-1 H2H record over Pliskova. There have been no signs that Halep’s incredible winning streak in Madrid is coming to an end any time soon, the 2-time defending champion will however face her greatest test of the tournament thus far against Pliskova who is in great form herself, can Pliskova cause a big upset?
Halep has cruised into the quarter-finals in Madrid without dropping a set. The world number 1 has now won 15 matches in a row in Madrid and is 3 wins away from becoming the first player to win the title in Madrid on 3 separate occasions, it would also be the first time Halep has won the same tournament on 3 occasions. Halep has claimed straight set wins over Ekaterina Makarova, Elise Mertens and Kristyna Pliskova, the Romanian never really looked troubled in any of those matches and looms as the strong favourite to win the title from here.
Karolina Pliskova is currently on a surprising 8-match winning streak on clay, the surface that has widely been considered her weakest. Pliskova has proven over the last 12 months that her game can work on clay, the 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist and recently crowned Stuttgart champion has certainly improved her movement and defensive capabilities on clay. Pliskova has come through a tough draw to reach the quarter-final stage in Madrid for the first time, the 6th seed started the week with a straight set win over Elena Vesnina before battling past Victoria Azarenka in 3 sets in what was a significant win for the Czech. Pliskova confirmed her spot in the final 8 with a clinical 6-2 6-3 thrashing of Sloane Stephens.
As mentioned above it is Halep who holds a dominant 6-1 head-to-head record over Pliskova. The previous matches between these two have shown that Halep is able to read the Pliskova serve better than anyone else on tour. Halep comfortably defeated Pliskova in their most recent match at the Australian Open earlier this year, an easy 6-3 6-2 victory. Halep has won the last 3 matches between the pair and 5 of her 6 wins over Pliskova were in straight sets. The signs are ominous for Pliskova.