Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, ? Stuttgart Final Preview
?? (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. ?? (wc) CoCo Vandeweghe
A surprise final in Stuttgart will feature Karolina Pliskova and CoCo Vandeweghe, two players that are not expected to be featuring on the final day of a big clay court event. The Stuttgart courts have proven to be a haven for the big server over the last week. Pliskova and Vandeweghe have both been extremely strong behind their serves on route to the final. The serve is the biggest weapon for both players, when that shot is firing both are very dangerous. Expect to see a close final with few breaks of serve.
It has been a long, successful week for Pliskova in Stuttgart. Pliskova started the week in Stuttgart in Fed Cup action where the Czech Republic beat Germany to reach yet another final. Pliskova started her PTGP campaign with a comfortable win over Kiki Bertens before blasting 15 aces past Veronika Kudermetova in the second round. Pliskova’s biggest test came at the quarter-final stage where she rallied from a set down to beat Jelena Ostapenko 5-7 7-5 6-4. Pliskova booked her spot in her first final of the season with a reasonably comfortable 6-4 6-2 over Anett Kontaveit. What has stood out has been Pliskova’s improved movement and ability to defend, especially in her last two matches against powerful opposition.
CoCo Vandeweghe has been surprisingly impressive this week. Vandeweghe herself admitted earlier in the week that she will probably never like clay, perhaps she will change her mind after this week? Vandeweghe started the event with a straight set drubbing of Sloane Stephens before battling past defending champion Laura Siegemund 6-4 4-6 6-3. Vandeweghe claimed back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents to reach her first final of the year, a 6-4 6-1 win over Simona Halep and 6-4 6-2 over Caroline Garcia. When Vandeweghe is on a roll she is hard to stop but her record at the pointy end of big events is not great.
Vandeweghe heads into Sunday’s final with a 3-2 H2H record over Pliskova. Vandeweghe has won 3 of the last 4 matches between the pair and has proven to be a frustrating opponent for Pliskova in recent times. This was especially true during their latest match where Pliskova suffered a frustrating 6-7 3-6 loss at the hands of the American at the quarter-final stage of the U.S Open. What is in Pliskova favour is the fact she won their only previous match on clay, a 7-6 6-4 win In Stuttgart last year.