Miami Open, ????? QF Preview
?? (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. ?? (wc) Victoria Azarenka
A blockbuster quarter-final on Tuesday night from the Miami Open sees the 5th seeded Karolina Pliskova take on 3-time former champion Victoria Azarenka, a battle of two former world number ones. Karolina Pliskova has been one of the most consistent players on tour in 2018 having already reached 5 quarter-finals whilst Azarenka loves playing in Miami and is playing superb tennis at this early stage of her return to the tour.
Karolina Pliskova secured her spot in the quarter-finals in Miami in unfortunate circumstances as Zarina Diyas was forced to retire injured early in the second set after Pliskova easily won the first set. After receiving a bye in the opening round, Pliskova claimed a tight straight set victory over Ekaterina Makarova. Pliskova’s toughest test came in the third round where she was given an almighty test by Su-Wei Hsieh, Pliskova eventually came out on top 6-4 1-6 7-6. Pliskova really struggle to close out the match in the third set, requiring 7 match points to finally get the job done. Pliskova is now just 1 win away from emulating her run to the semi-finals in Miami last year.
Azarenka has shown over the last few weeks that she is a force to be reckoned with, she is back! Azarenka has moved past 4 quality opponents to reach the quarter-finals in Miami. Azarenka started the event with a straight set victory over Catherine Bellis. Azarenka then benefited from a retirement from Madison Keys before coming from a set and a break down to defeat Anastasija Sevastova. Azarenka produced her most impressive performance at the fourth round stage where she thrashed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-2, a vintage display from the former world number 1.
Azarenka holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Pliskova. The only recent match was in Indian Wells in 2016 where Azarenka triumphed 7-6 1-6 6-2 on route to the title.