Western and Southern Open Cincinnati 2017 Semifinal Preview: Karolina Pliskova vs Garbine Muguruza

Blockbuster match up alert… The top half of the draw has went according to seeding with Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza battling for a spot in the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati final spot.

[1] Karolina Pliskova (No.1)

Route to this stage

R1: BYE

R2: d. [LL] Natalia Vikhlyantseva, 6-2 6-3

R3: d. [Q] Camila Giorgi, 6-3 4-6 6-0

QF: d. [6] Caroline Wozniacki, 6-2 6-4

Karolina Pliskova said earlier in the week that being the World No.1 does not affect her game and other than the number, “everything is staying the same”. It seems that this is really true as Pliskova has been her usual, calm, aggressive self during this whole week. After rain delays delayed her match against Camila Giorgi the previous day, Pliskova came out a little flat but was firing in the decider to give a bagel to the Italian. What was more impressive was her win over Caroline Wozniacki – the World No.1 had to play two matches in a day but wasn’t looking fatigued at all and powered her way through the match, hitting 27 winners to 13 unforced errors. It must be said that Wozniacki wasn’t playing her best but it was a very impressive performance for Pliskova.

[4] Garbine Muguruza (No.4) 

Route to this stage

R1: BYE

R2: d. Beatriz Haddad Maia, 6-2 6-0

R3: d. [16] Madison Keys, 6-4 3-6 7-6(3)

QF: d. [8] Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-2 5-7 7-5

One of the players who hasn’t been affected by the rain delays is Garbine Muguruza. Instead, she has been spending the time to get herself involved in lengthy three-setters! After a comfortable victory over Beatriz Haddad Maia, the Spaniard found herself having to save three match points against Madison Keys. The World No.4 had to get out of trouble once again against Svetlana Kuznetsova but found her forehand and best tennis in the decider to progress to the semifinals. Now a two-time Grand Slam champion, she is seemingly handling the pressure much better and is finding week-to-week consistency during her tournaments.

Head to head: Pliskova leads the head to head 6-1 and hopefully this will be the rivalry of the future but Muguruza needs to make it more competitive. Muguruza’s only win was in their first meeting before Pliskova won their last six encounters.

Thoughts: Muguruza always struggles in this match-up as she is unable to find the balance between defense and offence. Their matches are always very close and this should be no different. Pliskova, as usual, will try to play aggressive and break down the Muguruza forehand while the latter has to find a way to break down the game of Pliskova, like example, use more drop shots and slices. I wonder if the Czech will be fatigued from yesterday’s two matches but I think the World No.1 will continue to own this match-up, at least for tomorrow.

Please follow my Cincinnati predictions here and my Twitter account here 🙂 New Haven predictions will come out soon. Thank you for reading!

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