Match Preview: Karolina Pliskova v Caroline Wozniacki

This is the women’s Eastbourne final which is being played later today as the first of the two Eastbourne finals. These two styles match up really with the hard hitting Pliskkova against Wozniacki who gets everything back. Karolina Pliskova is the favourite to win the title but only by a very slim margin so it could really go either way.

Recent Form

Karolina Pliskova had an average clay court season but it ended with a great French Open result. She started the clay court season rather poorly as she fell in the quarterfinals of Stuttgart to eventual champion Laura Siegemund, the first round of Prague to Camila Giorgi and then in the second round of Madrid to Anastasia Sevastova. She then got a couple of good wins in Rome before going out to Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals. Her French Open result was above what I think anyone was expecting, including her, as she got wins over Saisai Zheng and Caroline Garcia on the way to the semifinals, where she lost to Simona Halep. Caroline Wozniacki also had a clay court season that was better than what most people were expecting. Wozniacki had a disappointing start to the clay season as well as she fell in the first round of Prague to Jelena Ostapenko, the second round of Madrid to Carla Suarez Navarro and then she pulled out after the first set of her first round match against Shelby Rogers with an injury in Strasbourg. Her French Open result was particularly impressive as she achieved the best result of her career at that event as she reached the quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Eastbourne Record

Karolina Pliskova is playing in her fifth Eastbourne event this year since making her debut in 2013. Her best result was achieved last year in 2016 when she got wins over Daria Gavrilova and Johanna Konta before falling to Dominika Cibulkova in the final. Her worst result came in 2013, on her debu,t and in 2014 when she fell in the final round of qualifying to her sister Kristyna Pliskova and then to Lauren Davis respectively. This is Wozniacki’s ninth appearance at the event and she has achieved some really excellent results at Eastbourne. Her best result came in 2009 when she won the tournament with a week where she got wins over Samantha Stosur and Ekaterina Makarova. Her worst result came in 2010 and 2012 when she went out to Aravane Rezai and Christina McHale respectively. Last year she went out in the third round to Monica Puig so she has already defended all her points from last year.

Head to Head Record

This is match-up that Wozniacki enjoys and she can play Pliskova’s game style comfortably with shows as she leads the Czech 4-1 in their head to head. This record can be misleading for this upcoming match because they have never played on grass, which is Pliskova’s preferred surface, and have only played on hard courts. The one match that Pliskova has won was in the 2017 Doha final which Pliskova easily comfortably through 6-3, 6-4. This match can be put down to Wozniacki not being able to perform well in finals so far this year but also because Pliskova played amazingly that week. Their tightest match so far was in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Monterrey event which Wozniacki won 6-7(3-7), 6-3, 6-3. I wasn’t watching the small women’s events at that point but I can imagine that what happened there was that Pliskova wasn’t able to keep up with Wozniacki’s relentless returning. There most recent match was the semifinal of Miami earlier this year which Wozniacki won 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. I remember watching this match and Pliskova did not play well at all in those last two sets so I don’t think that we can consider this match while thinking of the upcoming match because I doubt Pliskova will play that badly on grass in Eastbourne.

Prediction

I think that this match will be full of momentum swings but it will ultimately be on Pliskova’s racquet because if she plays to her best ability there is nothing Wozniacki will be able to do. I think that the first set will be the most tightly contested set but Pliskova will take an early break and there will be no break points other than that one as the world number 3 will take the set 6-4. In the first set the players will be playing really well for the whole time but Pliskova will play an unplayable return game early on. I think the Czech will have a major lapse for the second set and Wozniacki will just keep doing what she’s doing and take the set easily 6-0. Wozniacki will play the same from the first point till the last and in the final set Pliskova will be playing unbelievable tennis which Wozniacki won’t be able to do anything about. I think the Dane will be lucky enough to hold serve once but that will be all as Pliskova will win the tournament 6-4, 0-6, 6-1.

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