Karolina Pliskova vs Saisai Zheng, Roland Garros R1 Preview

Roland Garros, ??? R1 Preview + Prediction
(2) ?? Karolina Pliskova ?? Saisai Zheng

Karolina Pliskova enters Roland Garros as the second seed, however expectations are not as high as would be expected for a second seed. Pliskova has never made It past the second round in Paris, easily her worst record at any of the Grand Slams, clay is clearly Pliskova’s least preferred surface. Nevertheless, Pliskova continues to improve and will be determined to prove to herself that she can be a factor on this surface. Pliskova begins her 2017 Roland Garros campaign on Tuesday as she takes Saisai Zheng.

Karolina Pliskova was the most consistent performer on tour up until the start of the clay court swing, since then Pliskova’s results have predictably trailed off a bit. Most recently Pliskova did have a decent week in Rome where she won a couple of matches on route to a quarter-final showing where she was beaten by the eventual champion Elina Svitolina. It will be interesting to see if Pliskova can finally get her game to work on clay and on the biggest stage, she is certainly capable.

Saisai Zheng enters Roland Garros in decent form. Zheng has spent some time at the ITF level where she recently won the 100K event in Anning on clay. Zheng had a decent week in Madrid where she qualified for the main draw and took a huge scalp as she beat Elina Svitolina in the opening round. Zheng could not back up that win, defeated by Qiang Wang in three sets. Zheng also pushed an in form Ashleigh Barty to three sets in Strasbourg last week but was defeated in the opening round of qualifying.

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This will be the first tour level meeting between Pliskova and Zheng, there is a huge difference in rankings and playing style between these two. Pliskova is obviously a far more aggressive, attacking, powerful player, whilst Zhang is very unorthodox and can play with very little pace. On clay, this is a fascinating contrast. This could be a tricky opener for Pliskova but I expect her to be too clutch in the important moments and should be smart enough to work her way through this one.

Prediction: (2) Karolina Pliskova to defeat Saisai Zheng in 2 sets

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