Victoria Azarenka vs Karolina Pliskova, Indian Wells SF Preview

Indian Wells SF #2: (13) Victoria Azarenka vs (18) Karolina Pliskova

Victoria Azarenka continues her quest for a second Indian Wells title on Friday night where she will come up against Karolina Pliskova at the semi-final stage of the BNP Paribas Open. This will be the first encounter between the pair since last year’s epic match at the Brisbane International, Pliskova claimed a memorable three set victory in a match that lasted over three hours on that occasion. This promises to be another close, exciting encounter between Azarenka and Pliskova.


Victoria Azarenka’s 2016 season form has generally been quite impressive, amassing a 15-1 win/loss record. The Belarusian has looked good in the Californian desert, dropping just 1 set on route to the semi-final stage. Azarenka opened her Indian Wells campaign with reasonably comfortable straight set wins over Zarina Diyas and Shuai Zhang before being pushed to a third set by Sam Stosur, Azarenka played very strong tennis in the deciding set to claim a 6-1 4-6 6-1 victory over the Australian. Azarenka’s quarter-final victory was an emphatic one, a crushing 6-0 6-0 win over a somewhat injury-hampered Magdalena Rybarikova. Azarenka will face a much, much tougher test against Pliskova Pliskova on Friday evening. 

Karolina Pliskova is having the best couple of weeks of her season thus far. The Czech has gradually improved throughout the event and seems to be well positioned heading into her semi-final clash with Azarenka. Pliskova recorded comfortable straight set wins over Shelby Rogers and Ana Ivanovic in her first two matches of the week before producing a gutsy performance to get past Johanna Konta in three sets. Karolina saved her most impressive performance of the event thus far for the quarter-final stage where she thumped Daria Kasatkina, claiming a 6-3 6-2 victory over the Russian rising star. Pliskova barely put a foot wrong in that match, serving extremely well and striking the ball with real venom from the baseline. If Pliskova can produce a similar level on Friday night, she may well be too powerful for Azarenka. Pliskova is also into the final in the doubles draw alongside Julia Goerges.


The head-to-head record between Azarenka and Pliskova is split at 1 win apiece. It was Pliskova who won their only recent match, an extremely hard-fought 4-6 7-6 6-4 victory at the Brisbane International in the first event of 2015. Pliskova proved in that match that she has the game to trouble Azarenka, a times there wasn’t much Azarenka could do to stop the Czech. It will be interesting to see how different Friday’s match is. 

This is fascinating match-up, because these two have very different strengths and weaknesses. Pliskova obviously has the better serve but Azarenka has a better return of serve. Azarenka is the better mover from the back of the court and is more consistent but Pliskova probably has more firepower from the baseline This match will be played late at night, meaning the conditions will be quite slow, it is tough to know who that will favour in this match-up. I think this is going to be a close match and could go either way but I’m siding with Pliskova who can take care of business her if she serves well and makes the most of her opportunities on Azarenka’s relatively weak serve and plays without fear.

Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Victoria Azarenka in 3 sets


0 responses to “Victoria Azarenka vs Karolina Pliskova, Indian Wells SF Preview”

    • Azarenka is too experienced and clever for Pliskova.
      Azarenka will know she has to hold her service and can rely on her return qualities.
      Can see 6:4 6:4 or something like that.

      And I don’t agree that Pliskova has a better net game. Azarenka has achieved great results in doubles/mixed.

      • Azarenka is not smart around the net IMO… Pliskova is also experienced in doubles and is a more imposing figure at the net.
        Too experienced? No that’s not a factor. Azarenka holding serve is dependant on how Pliskova will return, Azarenka’s second serve is poor.


    • Thanks for your intelligent analysis. However, that doesn’t make sense as Pliskova beat Azarenka in their only relevant past match… Being a grand slam champion means nothing heading into this match, all past matches mean nothing. I think said Pliskova is the better player in general.. I said i think she will win this match, very different…

  2. I agree now. Azarenka may not be able to stop this red-hot Pliskova. It would be nice to see two of the greatest servers on tour go head to head in the finals.

  3. TBH, Azarenka net plays are decent or you can say slightly better than Karolina. However, Karolina has been playing doubles a lots. She has improved her net plays and volleys a lot, too.

    If Karolina’s serves can maintain at a very high percentage throughout the match (which she did in this tournament), Azarenka will have troubles,

    I am not biased to anyone of them but Karolina does have more powers than Azarenka. If she manages to prevent Azarenka from moving forward to the net, she can beat Azarenka.

    However, Azarenka has better chance to win if Karolina’s serves are malfunction today.

    I think Karolina wins in 3.

    • Yeah a lot will depend on Karolina’s serve, it is still her main weapon and needs to take care of her service games, the better she serves the more pressure she puts on Azarenka’s service games…

  4. Couldn’t see it.
    But a bit surprised this match went the distance especially after the first set when you could expect Vika to have broken Karo.

    Very happy for Vika. Finally a big result after difficult years. 😀

    • Yeah well I watched the match and It was a good performance by both.. Pliskova went missing early in the third, but yeah credit to Vika

    • In the end of the first set, what happened there? 🙂
      Karo choked the set or Vika was great for the last 15 minutes of the set?

      • A bit of both, Pliskova’s first serve percentage dropped heaps which is why Azarenka could break back and win the TB..

      • Somehow Karo can’t win against the ‘big players’ I think. She had her chances but Vika obviously was better on the key points. This is why I can’t see something special on her.
        Tennis really is more about mental part; Vika was (expectable) better than Karo.

        Pliskova is good but I don’t see that certain something. Consistent Top 10, Slamwinner? I doubt.

        • I think she is future slam winner, she has the game, just needs some minor adjustments, I still believe in her…

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