Yulia Putintseva and Karolina Pliskova take to Court 1 for a ticket into the fourth round of the Miami Open.
(27) Yulia Putintseva (No.32) vs (2) Karolina Pliskkova
Overview: Yulia Putintseva had a disappointing Australian swing, going 2-3 in three tournaments. However, she made headlines in the next month, reaching her first WTA final at St.Petersburg, enduring tough three setters against Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dominika Cibulkova in the quarters and semis respectively. In the final she ran out of steam, but played an amazing match against Kristina Mladenovic in what was arguably the best match of 2017. Most thought that she would grow more mature and her talent would start to shine. However since then she has only one a match in her next three tournaments. It was in Doha, where it was a retirement from Timea Bacsinszky. Her level has seemed to improve though – a straight set win over Carina Wittoeft meant she was going to play Karolina Pliskova next. Her level will have to improve mightily if she is to make her way into the fourth round.
Karolina Pliskova has been the most consistent player in 2017 so far, winning her 20th match two days ago against Madison Brengle. After a title in Brisbane, she cruised her way into the quarters of the Australian Open, but she fell to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni instead. She quickly bounced back from that disappointment though – winning another title in Doha where she beat Caroline Wozniacki. A loss to Kristina Mladenovic in Dubai was a bit of a shocker, but she did well in Indian Wells where she made the semifinals even though she was not in her best form. She fell to Svetlana Kuznetsova there. Then in Miami quickly demolished Madison Brengle to set up a match with Putintseva.
Head to head: They’re tied in their head to head, one apiece, but Putintseva’s win came in 2012 on clay while Pliskova’s win came in Brisbane this year where she obviously went on to claim the title.
Thoughts: I don’t foresee much problems for Pliskova. She’s playing well, can hit through Putintseva and the latter isn’t in the best form. The slow conditions in Miami may help the Kazakh return one more ball, but still going with Pliskova for the win.
Prediction: Pliskova to beat Putintseva in two