Karolina Pliskova vs Simona Halep, Roland Garros SF Preview

Roland Garros, ??? Semi-Final Preview + Prediction
SF #2: (2) ?? Karolina Pliskova vs (3) ?? Simona Halep

Unlike the top half of the draw, the second half of the draw has held up as the second and third seeds are set to battle for a spot in the 2017 Roland Garros final when Karolina Pliskova comes up against Simona Halep in Thursday’s second semi-final.

Karolina Pliskova may be the second seed but her run to the semi-finals in Paris is totally unexpected given clay has always been by far her least favourite surface. Simona Halep’s presence in another semi-final in Paris is far less surprising, the Romanian was the tournament favourite heading into the event and now seems more likely than ever to go on to win her very first Grand Slam title. Not only is a spot in a Grand Slam final on the line here, so is the world number 1 ranking, if Pliskova is to win this match she will be the new world number 1 when the new rankings come out next, whilst Halep will become the world number 1 if she goes on to win the title.

Karolina Pliskova arrived in Paris having never made it past the second round in Paris, highlighting the unlikeliness of her run to the final 4 at Roland Garros in 2017. Pliskova has benefited from a favourable draw in Paris, Pliskova got through the first week with wins over Saisai Zheng (7-5 6-2), Ekaterina Alexandrova (6-2 4-6 6-3) and Carina Witthoeft (7-5 6-1). Pliskova scrapped past Veronica Cepede-Royg 2-6 6-3 6-4 before producing her best performance of the tournament to defeat Caroline Garcia 7-6 6-4. Pliskova showed her versatility in her win over Garcia, it was Pliskova that was forced to defend for the majority of the match, a position she is not used to being in so it was an impressive win for Pliskova.

With just four players remaining, it is Simona Halep that looms as the outright favourite to win the tournament. Halep cruised through the first week of the event, beating Jana Cepelova (6-2 6-3), Tatjana Maria (6-4 6-3) and Daria Kasatkina 6-0 7-5. Halep’s matches in the second week couldn’t have been more contrasting, Halep smashed Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-1 in the fourth round before producing the greatest comeback of the tournament to defeat Elina Svitolina 3-6 7-6 6-0. Halep trailed Svitolina by a set and 1-5 before saving multiple match points to win 12 of the last 13 matches on route to a memorable victory.

Simona Halep holds a 4-1 head-to-head record over Karolina Pliskova. This has traditionally been a good match-up for Halep, the Romanian won two of their three meetings last year including a 6-3 6-3 win in Montreal in what was their most recent match.

Halep should have the clear edge in this match. This has proven to be a good match-up for Halep, which should be highlighted even more so on a clay court. Pliskova’s biggest weapons are neutralized by Halep, especially on a clay court (her serve and big forehand), whist Halep’s weapons (her movement and consistency) become more important and will expose Pliskova greatest weakness (her movement). There is no doubt that Halep should be winning this match.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 2 sets


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