I don’t think anyone would have predicted this final at the start of the event… After an eventful week at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, it will be CoCo Vandeweghe and Karolina Pliskova who will be competing for their first title of the year and the keys to the glamorous Porsche. Read on for the preview…
CoCo Vandeweghe (No.16) vs  Karolina Pliskova (No.6)
I’ve been very surprised by Vandeweghe’s performances in Stuttgart so far – her route to the final involved Miami champion Sloane Stephens, two-time Stuttgart finalist Laura Siegemund, World No.1 Simona Halep and World No.7 Caroline Garcia, and she beat all of them whilst only dropping one set. Even though Vandeweghe has been very vocal in her hate towards the clay, she looks like she’s a natural clay courter with the way she’s running and sliding on the baseline. Her serve (and kick serve) has worked wonders this week – in four matches played, her serve has only been broken four times. Another thing is that she hasn’t had any outbursts this week – very impressive when you’re talking about Vandeweghe!
A player who rarely has any outbursts on the court is Karolina Pliskova, and yes, she’s Vandeweghe’s opponent in the final. Pliskova has had a mediocre start to the year but she has turned things around in Stuttgart, with a run that involved beating clay court specialist Kiki Bertens, big-hitting qualifier Veronika Kudermetova, French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and two-time Stuttgart quarter finalist Anett Kontaveit. Just like Vandeweghe, Pliskova’s serve has been brilliant this week – she hit 41 aces in four matches and in her match against Kontaveit, she won 96% of first serve points! In fact, she didn’t even drop a single point on serve in the second set… Pliskova’s defensive skills has also been impressive with the way she’s able to slide on this surface – her stamina has really improved from like three, four years ago.
Head to head: Vandeweghe leads the head to head 3-2, however Pliskova won their only meeting on clay (which was in Stuttgart). Interestingly, all of their five duels have been decided in straight sets, and in their four recent meetings the first set has always been decided on a tiebreak!
Thoughts: I’m struggling to decide on a winner because both of them have similar strengths – a huge serve, a reliable second serve with kick, good movement on the clay, huge hitting that can overpower anyone. However, Vandeweghe will be competing for her first ever Premier title (and first title on clay) so I’m expecting some nerves from her. Pliskova is the way more experienced player and the way she played against Kontaveit in the second set has led me to think that Karolina Pliskova will be the champion of the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
Final Prediction: Karolina Pliskova d. CoCo Vandeweghe in two, tight sets
Stuttgart predictions can be found at the top of the page or by clicking the link here! Thank you for reading!