Karolina Pliskova vs Timea Bacsinszky, Rome R3 Preview

Internazionali BNL d’Italia ?? R3 Preview
(2) ?? Karolina Pliskova vs ?? Timea Bacsinszky

An fascinating third round clash between Karolina Pliskova and Timea Bacsinszky will end third round action on Thursday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Karolina Pliskova was the form player on tour during the first couple of months but as expected her form has dropped away as the clay court season is in full swing. Timea Bacsinszky has had a poor year but the Swiss woman always thrives during the clay court season and will see this third round clash as a big opportunity to gain a valuable victory over the world number 3.

Karolina Pliskova advanced to the third round in Rome for the first time after claiming her very first win at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, a commanding 6-1 6-1 demolition of Lauren Davis in just under an hour. Pliskova’s form has dramatically dipped ever since the start of the clay court season, Pliskova arrived in Rome with a 2-3 record on clay in 2017 after going 21-4 on hard courts prior to that in 2017. It is important that Pliskova has a good week in Rome to build a sense of belief on the surface before heading to Paris as one of the top seeds.

Timea Bacsinszky has struggled to find her best tennis in 2017, but this is always the time of the year that Bacsinszky is most dangerous as Roland Garros looms. Bacsinszky has claimed a couple of dominant wins over good opponents to start her 2017 Rome campaign, a 6-2 6-2 win over Timea Babos and a 6-4 6-2 win over Barbora Strycova. Clay is clearly Bacsinszky’s best surface and given the openness of the tour at the moment, the experienced Swiss player will know that she has a good opportunity to cause some damage in the coming weeks.

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Timea Bacsinszky holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Karolina Pliskova. Bacsinszky won the first two matches between the pair, including a 6-4 6-0 demolition in Rome in 2015. Pliskova won their most recent match at the semi-final stage of the 2016 Fed Cup, a 6-4 6-2 win.

This is an interesting match for a few reasons. Clearly, Pliskova is generally playing the better tennis of the pair in 2017 but Bacsinszky is far more comfortable on a clay court. There is a big contrast in styles between these two, Pliskova will rely on her big serve and forehand to push Bacsinszky but Bacsinszky will use her movement and touch to make life uncomfortable for Pliskova. I have a feeling a determined Pliskova will be good enough to overcome this challenge, an important challenge for the world number 3.

Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Timea Bacsinszky in 3 sets

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