Australian Open ?? Quarter-Final Preview
?? (1) Simona Halep vs ?? (6) Karolina Pliskova
The pick of the quarter-final match-ups at Melbourne Park sees the top seeded Simona Halep take on the 6th seeded Karolina Pliskova. Heading into the new year, Halep and Pliskova were two of the main contenders to claim maiden Grand Slam titles. Halep and Pliskova now have the Australian Open title within touching distance, who will step up and take control of this crucial quarter-final clash? It has been Halep who has been fairly dominant in this match-up, the Romanian heads into this match with a 5-2 record over Pliskova. Can the Czech turn things around on Wednesday or will Halep again be too strong?
Simona Halep has an unbeaten 9-0 record in 2018 after arriving in Melbourne on the back of winning the Shenzhen title. It has been a dramatic week for Halep as she has fought her way into the quarter-final stage at the Australian Open for the third time. The Romanian suffered a major scare in the opening round when she badly rolled her ankle in a tough victory over Destanee Aiava. Halep has been able to manage her ankle injury well, the Romanian’s biggest test came in the third round where she saved match points on route to an epic 4-6 6-4 15-13 victory over Lauren Davis. There were big questions marks around how Halep would recover from that win over Davis, Halep squashed those question marks, producing her best performance of the tournament to beat Naomi Osaka 6-3 6-2 to reach the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam for the 10th time.
Karolina Pliskova is into the Australian Open quarter-final stage for the second time, having reached this stage last year where she was upset by Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. Pliskova was untroubled in her first couple of matches at Melbourne Park, cruising past Veronica Cepede Royg and Beatriz Haddad Maia in straight sets. Pliskova’s last couple of matches were very tough against a pair of Fed Cup teammates. The 6th seed battled past Lucie Safarova 7-6 7-5 in the third round before confirming her spot in the quarter-finals with a 6-7 6-3 6-2 win over Barbora Strycova. Pliskova’s win over Strycova was particularly impressive, after falling behind a set past midnight against a challenging opponent, it seemed like the odds were against Pliskova. However, Pliskova rebounded strongly and dominated the next two sets to claim an important victory.
It is Simona Halep who holds a 5-2 head-to-head record over Pliskova. Halep has won 4 of the 6 meeting between the pair on a hard court and has won their two most recent matches.