Indian Wells R4: (3) Simona Halep vs (14) Karolina Pliksova
The pick of the fourth round matches at the 2015 BNP Paribas Open sees third seed Simona Halep take on the rapidly improving Karolina Pliskova. These two met just a couple of weeks ago in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final, Simona Halep triumphing in two tight sets. Karolina will look to avenge that loss on Tuesday in what promises to be a high quality encounter between two of the tours most in form players.
Simona Halep advanced to the fourth round courtesy of an extremely hard fought 6-1 3-6 6-1 victory over Varvara Lepchenko. The match was very physical, both ladies pushing eachother to their limits. Halep ultimately outlasted Lepchenko, raising her level at the business end of the match to book her place in round of 16 in the Californian Desert.
Simona took a medical timeout after the second set, her left ankle was examined and taped. The Romanian’s movement didn’t seem to be hindered in the final set as she hunted down every single ball, forcing Lepchenko to hit a high number of errors. Simona’s effort this week has been admirable given the tragic circumstances surrounding the passing of her cousin.
Karolina Pliskova produced her second straight victory over Garbine Muguruza to advance to the fourth round at the BNP Paribas Open. Much like their recent encounter in Dubai, it was Pliskova who made the most of her opportunities and played better under pressure.
Garbine was the better player for much of the opening set, easily holding serve and creating opportunities to break. However it was Pliskova who took her first break point opportunity in the eleventh game, before confidently serving out the opening set.
A wayward service from Garbine handed Pliskova the ascendancy early in the second set and Pliskova never looked back. The Czech confidently served out the match to love, continuing her incredible start to the season. Pliskova doesn’t seem to feel pressure, an invaluable trait so early in her career.
Simona Halep won the first and only meeting between the pair just a couple of weeks ago in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Championships. Simona twice failed to serve out the match in the second set but eventually prevailed 6-4 7-6 to claim her second title of the year.
It must be noted that Pliskova was certainly not at her best during the final and will be much fresher coming into this match. This match ultimately depends on how well Pliskova plays, I have no doubt that her best tennis will get the job done.
I think Karolina will have the edge against Halep on this occasion. Karolina didn’t serve particularly well in the Dubai final, a better serving performance this time around and she will be very difficult to defeat.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Simona Halep in 3 sets