Mutua Madrid Open, R3 Preview
?? (6) Karolina Pliskova vs. ?? (9) Sloane Stephens
Two of the form players on the WTA tour will collide at the third round stage of the Mutua Madrid Open when Karolina Pliskova takes on Sloane Stephens on Wednesday. Pliskova and Stephens have both won big titles in recent times, Pliskova won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart whilst Stephens won the Miami Open. Pliskova and Stephens have both already had significant wins in Madrid and will both enter this clash full of confidence, who will prevail?
Karolina Pliskova is on a 7-match winning streak, on clay! Pliskova arrived in Madrid on a high after winning the title in Stuttgart, her biggest tile on a clay court. The 2017 Roland Garros semi-finalist has clearly dramatically improved her game on clay over the last few years and is not to be ignored on this surface. Pliskova started her Madrid campaign with a comfortable straight set win over Elena Vesnina before battling past Victoria Azarenka 6-2 1-6 7-5. Pliskova showed great mental strength to outlast Azarenka in a tight final set where both had chances to take control, Pliskova’s great serving under pressure and discipline from the baseline gave her the edge and allowed to claim a significant win.
Sloane Stephens has stormed through her first couple of matches in Madrid. The American eased past Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Samantha Stosur to secure her spot in the third round in Madrid for the first time in her career. Stephens has made great progress over the last few months after a slow start to the year, If the reigning U.S Open champion can consistently bring her a-game she will be competing for the biggest titles over the next few months.
Stephens has won the only previous matches between the pair, both in straight sets. 6-2 6-2 at Wimbledon in 2012 and 6-3 6-2 in Beijing in 2015.