Match Preview: Petra Kvitova v Kristyna Pliskova

We have a very enticing all Czech match-up tomorrow at the Volvo Car Open as the second seed Petra Kvitova takes on her younger countrywoman Kristyna Pliskova in their second round match being played third on the Volvo Car Stadium. The favourite to progress through this match is Kvitova by a comfortable margin, which is no surprise considering the sixty-four place gap in their rankings.

Recent Form

Petra Kvitova had a rather underwhelming start to the year but then recovered from it with one of the best runs of her career over a number of events. Her Australian swing ended in heartbreak as she went out in the first round of the Australian Open to Andrea Petkovic 10-8 in the third set. She was able to recover from it quickly as at her next event, which was the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, she made a run to the title with wins over Kristina Mladenovic, Julia Goerges and Jelena Ostapenko. The winning did not stop there as she helped the Czech Republic get past Switzerland in Fed Cup with wins over Viktorija Golubic and Belinda Bencic before capturing her second straight title, this time at the Qatar Total Open with a week that saw her take victories over Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza and Caroline Wozniacki. The sunshine double was not as successful but it wasn’t terrible as she went out in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open to sixteen-year-old Amanda Anisimova and then the fourth round of the Miami Open to Jelena Ostapenko. It has been a very different start for Kristyna Pliskova as she has been really struggling to scrape up wins at the main draw level. Her two events on Australian soil both resulted in three-set first round losses to Kirsten Flipkens at the Hobart International and then Agnieszka Radwanska at the Australian Open. Back on European soil, she went out to Tereza Martincova in the second qualifying round of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy before finished her Sunshine double preparation with a first-round loss in Acapulco to Renata Zarazua. In the Sunshine double itself, she got her first main draw win since the first week of the year at the BNP Paribas Open before going out in the second round to Simona Halep and then she went out to Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the Miami Open. So far this event, she has had to play her opening round match which she won 6-4, 6-1 over another Czech Katerina Siniakova. You have to give the confidence edge to Kvitova because she will still be riding the wave of her two earlier titles.

Charleston Record

This is the first time that the tour veteran Petra Kvitova will be playing on the green clay at the Volvo Car Open. For Kristyna Pliskova, she has played here twice but both occasions were a number of years ago and neither of them was particularly notable. Pliskova first made her appearance here in Charleston in 2012 at age 20 when she went out in the second qualifying round to Iveta Melzer and she fell at the same stage in the next year but this time she fell to Caroline Garcia. Although neither will be feeling great on the surface, Pliskova does have to have the slight edge because she has a least played a couple of matches here.

KristynaPliskova2018BNPParibasOpen.jpg

Head to Head Record

Kristina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova have only played once with that meeting coming on a hard court and it was the more experienced Kvitova who came out on top on that occasion. This match took place last year in the first round of the China Open and the twelfth seed Kvitova got the 6-3, 7-5 win. This sounded like an interesting one because we know that the eventual semifinalist Kvitova was playing well that week but still seemed to struggle with the Pliskova serve, which could trouble Kvitova greatly if she is not at her best. The second seed this week does have the edge with the previous win but it was not an easy match based on the scoreline, however; the clay would minimise the Pliskova serve damage.

My Prediction

I think that we will see a typical Petra Kvitova performance today as she will be shaky in parts but she will also be flawless at other times and won’t be able to miss a ball. This is a hard match for Kristyna Pliskova because a lot of her weapons, namely the serve, are blunted on clay and she is not going to get as many free points. I think that it is going to be hard for Kvitova as well because this is a new location for her and clay has never been comfortable for her. Throughout the opening set, I think that Kvitova will be making quite a few errors and won’t have everything in her game down-packed. She will be able to stay in for most of it due to Pliskova not having great returning skills but eventually, I think her younger countrywoman will pounce fueled by adrenaline and take the opener 5-7. I think we will have a tight start to the second as Kvitova gets in a groove but as soon as she does start whacking her returns, Pliskova does not stand a chance with an already weakened serve and she will lose the second set 6-2. I see the third set being very similar but by the end, Pliskova will throw in the towel and start going for broke, which will make it quicker for Kvitova to get the 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 win.

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