(11) Lucie Safarova vs (17) Karolina Pliskova
First time quarter-finalists at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, Karolina Pliskova and Lucie Safarova will do battle for a place in the semi-finals. This will be the second meeting between the two in as many weeks, it was Pliskova who prevailed in straight sets in the quarter-finals at Antwerp last week.
Lucie Safarova’s strong early season form is finally leading to results. Safarova suffered an extremely disappointing first round loss in Melbourne but is putting all of that behind her with back to back quarter-final appearances in Antwerp and Dubai.
Lucie Safarova advanced reached the quarter-finals in Dubai for the very first time with an outstanding 6-4 6-2 victory over defending champion, Venus Williams in just 66 minutes. Lucie produced a stunning performance hitting 22 winners to just 8 unforced errors in one of the cleanest performances one will ever see. Safarova totally dominated proceedings, especially in the second set, leaving Venus Williams scratching her head.
Lucie’s victory was especially impressive given she spent three hours on court the previous day to defeat Casey Dellacqua 6-7 7-6 7-5.
Karolina is having another extremely positive week, reaching yet another quarter-final with three impressive wins. Karolina cruised past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova before a hard fought third round victory over Ana Ivanovic.
Karolina Pliskova advanced to the quarterfinals with her second straight victory over Ana Ivanovic, prevailing 6-2 4-6 6-4. Karolina totally dominated the early proceeding, playing some scintillating tennis to blow Ivanovic off the court. Karolina led by a set and break and was seemingly in cruise control, however her level dipped and Ivanovic pounced to send the match into a decider.
The third set was extremely tight, it seemed Ivanovic would eventually come through however Pliskova kept fighting and captured the critical break in the ninth game of the set. Karolina cooly served out the match, reaching her third quarter-final of the season.
These two came head to head for the first time last week in the quarter-finals in Antwerp. It was Karolina Pliskova who prevailed 7-6 6-3 in a clinical performance. There is a bit of a rivalry between these two, they are both fighting for the second position in the Czech Fed Cup team. They seem to be pushing eachother to play even better, both ladies continue to rise up the rankings.
This is an extremely tough match to call, I’m leaning towards Lucie who has a slight edge in this matchup. Lucie’s performance yesterday was simply outstanding so it’s hard to pick against her. If Lucie brings a similar level of tennis she will very tough to beat, however there is a question mark surrounding her fitness after three back to back matches including a three hour match in the second round. Karolina will also be running low on fuel, she has had little rest over the past few weeks, playing Fed Cup then Antwerp and then straight to Dubai.
Lucie will be desperate to avoid losing two straight matches to Karolina and will do everything in her power to avoid it, a tough three set victory is likely.
Prediction: Lucie Safarova to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets