Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R1 Preview
?? (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. ?? Kiki Bertens
A Brutal opening round clash in Stuttgart sees the 5th seeded Karolina Pliskova take on one of the tour’s clay court specialists: Kiki Bertens. This will be an exciting battle between two of the biggest hitters on tour. There is however a great contrast in styles between these two, the flat hitting of Pliskova against the heavy strokes of Bertens, who will prevail?
Karolina Pliskova has already had some time to get acclimatised to the conditions in Stuttgart after taking part in the Czech Republic’s successful semi-final Fed Cup tie with Germany at the weekend in Stuttgart. Pliskova claimed a hugely important victory over Angelique Kerber, a rare straight sets win over the German before succumbing to Julia Goerges in straight sets. Clay has never been Pliskova’s favourite surface but Karolina’s run to the semi-finals at Roland Garros last year will inspire the Czech number 1 heading into the 2018 clay court season.
Kiki Bertens may be just outside the top 20 in the rankings but on clay, according to the WTA’s power rankings she is number 3 on the dirt. Bertens showed just why she is considered number 3 on clay in her first clay court event of the year where she won the title in Charleston a few weeks ago. Bertens’ form in 2018 has generally not been good but on clay everything is different. Kiki’s heavy game is ideal for clay, one of very few players that play with such shape and power on the WTA tour, a true clay court specialist.
The only completed match between these two took place way back in 2013 on carpet in Paris, Bertens won 6-4 7-6.