Match Review: Karolina Pliskova v Ekaterina Makarova

In the anticipated second-round clash which took place second on Court 1, fifth seed Karolina Pliskova get her first career-win over Ekaterina Makarova with the 7-5, 7-5 triumph. Overall, it was a good performance from Pliskova as after a slow start she got the serve going and was able to take control of the rallies and was incredibly effective with moving forward and closing the net but what let her down early on in the second set was her failure to really play those important points, especially her break opportunities, well. Makarova was inconsistent as she went through periods of effective shot-making with strong first serves landing but she also went through stages of the match that happened to be sloppy and filled with errors and even when she was playing her good tennis, she was still the inferior player to when Pliskova played her good tennis.

Set 1

The start of the first set was a bit slow from Karolina Pliskova, which could be due to this being her first match in Miami, as she didn’t handle the depth from Ekaterina Makarova and was broken to start. She did start to get better from there as she held a break point in her next game and then, after some loose Makarova errors, Pliskova broke back to level at 2-2. The match did not stay on serve for long as Makarova hit some stellar returns to break for 2-3 but then Pliskova showed off her clutch net skills to break straight back. She held from there and then came very close to breaking at 4-3 in a really competitive game with both women trading blows from the baseline but Makarova eventually saved three break points and levelled after some big serves. Pliskova was truly in a groove now as she raced through her service game and then after Makarova held through refusal to miss, it was 5-5. It looked liked we would go to a tiebreaker but eventually, Makarova had a terrible game serving to stay in the set with an onslaught of errors and she handed Pliskova the game and 7-5 opening set.

Set 2

Ekaterina Makarova started the second set well with two return winners to get two break points but Karolina Pliskova saved both. That set the tone for the next few games as one of the women would make a big push to break but could not end up closing it out after having opportunities. The next two games are good examples of it as Makarova held before, in the next game, Pliskova dug deep to save a breakpoint before holding. Then it was Makarova who had to fight as she pulled off two great forehands to save two break points and level at 2-2. The disappointment of not being able to break must have got to Pliskova as she put in a lot of errors at 2-2 to be broken. In the end, it was an easy hold to love from 2-4 for Pliskova that snapped her back into action as she put enough pressure on Makarova to break back for 4-4. That was not the end of the fight as Makarova put in a great return game to break for 4-5 but when serving for the set, she lost her mojo and Pliskova managed to reel off the final three games without much resistance.

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