Dubai R1: (6) (wc) Karolina Pliskova vs CoCo Vandeweghe
2015 runner-up Karolina Pliskova will begin her 2016 Dubai campaign with a potentially dangerous first round match against American CoCo Vandeweghe. Karolina’s run to the final last year in Dubai was one the breakthrough moments in her career, the Czech seemed to thrive on the quick courts and looms as one of the main contenders this week in Dubai. This is an exciting match-up between two of the biggest hitters and biggest servers on tour.
Karolina Pliskova arrives in Dubai in good spirits despite a poor Australian Open campaign. The Czech made a disappointing third round exit in Melbourne, losing to Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets to ensure her poor record at the Grand Slam level continues. However, Karolina had an outstanding weekend in Fed Cup action last week, contributing to all 3 victories as the Czech Republic fought past Romania. Pliskova recorded victories over Simona Halep and Monica Niculescu and also teamed up with Barbora Strycova to win the deciding doubles rubber. A weekend like that is sure to give Karolina confidence moving forward, especially her victory over Simona Halep in hostile conditions. Karolina enjoys the conditions in Dubai and is one to look out for this week.
CoCo Vandeweghe’s recent form has been quite horrific. The American hasn’t won a match this season and is currently on a 5-match losing streak which dates back to Wuhan last year. Vandeweghe has suffered losses to Irina Falconi, Jelena Jankovic and Madison Brengle in 2016, all very beatable opponents. The American did enjoy some success at the Australian Open, reaching the mixed doubles final.
The head-to-head record between Pliskova and Vandeweghe is split at 1 win apiece. Pliskova won their first meeting in straight sets at the Rogers Cup in 2013 whilst Vandeweghe recorded a shock 7-6 6-4 win over Pliskova in the second round at Wimbledon last year.
Karolina Pliskova is the clear favourite heading into this match given the recent form of the two players. However, on paper these is pretty even match-up in terms of ability and how the two stack up against each other, Vandeweghe showed at Wimbledon that she has the game to trouble Karolina. These two have very similar games but Pliksova is clearly more stable both in terms of her tennis and also mentally. Pliskova should be too good on this occasion, the Czech does most things a little better than Vandeweghe and is more consistent at the moment.