Sydney QF: (1) Simona Halep vs (5) Karolina Pliskova
A blockbuster quarter-final match-up at the Apia International in Sydney features 2015 runner-up Karolina Pliskova and top seeded Romanian Simona Halep. Karolina Pliskova has made an extremely impressive start to her Sydney campaign with two dominant victories whilst injury clouds still hover over Simona Halep heading into this clash. This looks like a good opportunity for Pliskova to record her first victory over the world number 2.
Simona Halep made her much anticipated 2016 debut on Tuesday evening where she recorded a 6-4 2-6 6-1 victory over Caroline Garcia. It was a strange match, Simona seemed to be in pain towards the end of the second set where she called for a medical timeout. However, the pain seemed to quickly go away as she moved extremely well in the third set and seemed to catch Garcia off guard. Halep did play some pretty decent tennis in the third set but Garcia lost all concentration and offered little resistance. There is certainly a possibility that Halep will hand Pliskova a walkover into the next round given her ongoing problems.
Karolina Pliskova has rocketed through to the quarter-final stage at the Apia International. The Czech started the week with a surprisingly straightforward 6-4 6-2 victory over Ana Ivanovic before thumping Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-0 to set up a clash with Halep. If Pliskova can maintain her current level over the next couple of days, she is certainly the player to beat in Sydney. The Czech hasn’t really done anything wrong this week, she is serving well, moving well and pounding the ball from the baseline. Karolina is going to be tough to beat this week.
Simona has won both of the previous matches between the pair, both in straight sets. Firstly, in the Dubai final last year where Halep won 6-4 7-6 and then a couple of weeks later at Indian Wells where Halep win 6-4 6-4. Pliskova was very competitive in both matches but made a few too many unforced errors on both occasions.
Karolina Pliskova heads into this match with form on her side, Pliskova has looked great in her first two matches this week whilst Halep was less than convincing and is apparently struggling with some kind of injury. Pliskova has all the weapons to trouble Halep and will probably have too much firepower for a distracted Halep on this occasion.