(5) Dominika Cibulkova (No.5) vs Kristyna Pliskova (No.54)
Overview: Kristyna Pliskova, Karolina Pliskova’s sister, is starting to come out of her sister’s footsteps. She dismantled Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-0, 6-3 and upset Daria Kasatkina with the same scoreline. It was a Pliskova serving display in that match against Kasatkina, winning 86% of first serve points. She will have a much tougher time winning those first serves though, as she will face one of the game’s best returners, Dominika Cibulkova in the third round.
Cibulkova’s 2017 did not start exactly the way she wanted. She lost early in Brisbane and the Australian Open to Ekaterina Makarova, but made back to back semifinals in St.Petersburg and Doha. However in Dubai she lost early to Makarova once again in her opener, arriving at Indian Wells in not too good form. Cibulkova came through a difficult opener against Latvian Jelena Ostapenko on Friday, battling past her for two hours and 11 minutes to register a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory and move into the third round. The Slovakian should be expecting quite the same play from Pliskova – except that the Czech plays left handed and her serve is as potent as Pliskova’s.
Head to head: These two hasn’t met before, but Karolina’s record against Pliskova is 1-3, so maybe you can take that into account.
Thoughts: Kristyna is equipped with a thunderous lefty serve, while her groundstrokes can be tough to handle as well. Her movement is better, as the match against Kasatkina showed how much she has improved in that aspect. Cibulkova is only 8-6 in 2017, so Pliskova should have chances to cause an upset. However I think Cibulkova should be able to counterattack the Pliskova serve with her forehand and should be able to grind out the match in three sets.
Prediction: Cibulkova to beat Kr.Pliskova in 3 sets