HUGEEEEEE second round match-up and probably the best of them all if you have been following the WTA closely – in-form Karolina Pliskova on the WTA circuit takes on in-form Magdalena Rybarikova on the ITF circuit.
(3) Karolina Pliskova [No.3] vs Magdalena Rybarikova [No.87]
Overview: Karolina Pliskova is the most in-form player on the tour right now and in every tournament played, she has always made the quarterfinals or further except for two tournaments (Dubai and Prague) throughout the whole year! Before coming to her favourite surface here on grass, the Czech had a surprisingly fruitful clay court swing. She reached the quarterfinals of Stuttgart and Rome, then took advantage of an open bottom half to progress to the semifinals of the French Open. The World No.3’s only losses on clay were to Laura Siegemund, Camila Giorgi, Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep. Very impressive! Coming into the green stuff, Pliskova played and won her only WTA grass tournament of the year, beating talented grass court players Alison Riske, Peng Shuai. In the quarterfinals, she produced smart and aggressive displays to outlast Svetlana Kuznetsova and Caroline Wozniacki. Her form continued into Wimbledon where she hit 35 winners to just 13(!) unforced errors against Evgeniya Rodina.
Magdalena Rybarikova’s comeback just keeps getting better and better. After having a surgery, Rybarikova returned to the tour in February and immediately reached the semifinals of the ITF tournament she played in. She then won back-to-back ITF titles in Japan, and onto her beloved grass, the Slovak won two more ITF titles in Surbiton and Ilkley. In her only WTA tournament of the year, she reached the semifinals in Nottingham, beating Alison Riske along the way. In Wimbledon she claimed her first victory in London over Monica Niculescu since 2015. Rybarikova won’t be an easy opponent for Pliskova with her tricky game and backhand slice. Gonna be a fun one here!
Stat: Pliskova has a 37-9 win loss record for the year, while Rybarikova’s record is 31-6. Both equally impressive!
Thoughts: Rybarikova has won so many matches on grass however most of them have came of the ITF tour and she has only met two Top 50 players during this swing so far (Riske & Konta). Pliskova will have to be at the top of her game, as she really needs to get low to the Rybarikova slices, but she has been serving so well this year and it seems that the Czech has been trying to put more pace on her second serve too. Pliskova has been so good when trying to get out of difficult situations with the one-two punch and that should come into play in this match too. Going for Pliskova to reach the third round of Wimbledon for the first time.