Roland Garros, R2 Preview
?? (6) Karolina Pliskova vs. ?? Lucie Safarova
A fascinating second round clash at Roland Garros on Thursday sees the 6th seeded Karolina Pliskova take on compatriot Lucie Safarova. Pliskova is one of the form players on tour at the moment, the Czech has not usually been considered a great threat on clay but the last 12 months have suggested otherwise. The 2017 Roland Garros semi-finalist looms as a real contender for the title in Paris given her great recent form on clay. Pliskova will face her first big test when she faces Safarova for a spot in the third round.
Karolina Pliskova started her 2018 Roland Garros campaign with a hard-fought 7-6 6-4 win over Barbora Krejcikova. Pliskova was down in each set, Krejcikova served for the opening set and held a 4-1 lead in the second set so it was a great effort from Pliskova to come through that match in straight sets. Pliskova has now amassed an impressive 11-3 win/loss record on clay in 2018, it is clear that she must be considered a genuine threat on this surface.
Lucie Safarova’s preparations for Paris were not great. Safarova only recently returned to the tour after a 3-month absence due to illness/injury. Safarova was beaten by Hsieh in the second round in Strasbourg last week so it is fair to say there are little expectations of the 2015 finalist in Paris. Nevertheless, Safarova started her 2018 campaign with a solid 6-4 6-1 win over Jessika Ponchet, Pliskova in the next round will be a far greater test.
Pliskova holds a strong 6-2 head-to-head advantage over Safarova. Indeed Pliskova has won 6 of their last 7 matches, including the last 3. Most recently Pliskova claimed a tight 7-6 7-5 win at the Australian Open earlier this year. Whilst Pliskova has a great record over Safarova, their matches are always close and Safarova has actually won 2 of their 3 matches on clay. Can Safarova cause an upset in Paris?