2018 Wimbledon WTA Round 2 Previews: Ka.Pliskova vs Azarenka, Radwanka vs Safarova

This post covers two second round match previews from the bottom half of the draw. For a preview of the Wimbledon main draw, click here. For top half match previews of Konta-Vikhlyantseva and more, click here. Continue reading for previews of Ka.Pliskova-Azarenka and Radwanska-Safarova…

Wimbledon, Second Round Previews

1. [7] Karolina Pliskova (No.7) vs Victoria Azarenka (No.87)

Image result for pliskova wimbledon 2018

A blockbuster second round match-up is set with Karolina Pliskova and Azarenka meeting for the third time this year. Pliskova needed three sets and two hours and six minutes to defeat British wildcard Harriet Dart 7-6(2) 2-6 6-1. I only watched three games of the first set and thought it would be a quick day for Pliskova… little did I know Dart would push Pliskova to the limits. It seemed like a case of Pliskova playing sluggish and Dart playing one of the matches of her life, but after failing to convert on break points early in the third set, Pliskova used her experience to pull away and win the last few games of the match. She’ll need to improve immensely onwards if she is to reach the third round of Wimbledon for the first time in her career.

Azarenka also needed to fight past a gritty first round opponent in Ekaterina Alexandrova. From 2-4 down, Azarenka staged a comeback and used her huge experience to come through 7-6(4) 6-3. Azarenka had a huge fall early in the first set and she had been struggling of late on the natural surfaces, so it was great to see that the Belarusian was OK and was playing some good tennis on the court.

Head to head: Azarenka leads the head to head 3-2, with the pair meeting twice this year already. Azarenka won in Miami in straight sets, while Pliskova notched an epic three-set victory on the dirt in Madrid.

Thoughts: I think this could be a scrappy match as both players haven’t been able to find their footing on grass just yet. Although Pliskova hasn’t been past the second round of Wimbledon, she has bigger weapons (serve and forehand) than Azarenka on a grass court. I think Pliskova will be very unconvincing but come through with the serve.

Final Prediction: Karolina Pliskova d. Victoria Azarenka in three sets

2. [32] Agnieszka Radwanska (No.32) vs Lucie Safarova (No.66)

Image result for radwanska wimbledon 2018

Radwanka seemed to have rekindled her vintage grass court form with a semifinal appearance in Eastbourne last week, but her epic first rounder against Elena-Gabriela Ruse was more of fighting and gritting through. Aga saved six match points to win the last three games in a 6-3 4-6 7-5 victory. I didn’t watch the match but it seemed like Aga was struggling with a flu and was playing really passively, perhaps exhausted from her endeavours in Eastbourne. She’ll need to increase her aggression if she is to beat a good grass court player in Safarova.

Safarova returned from injury at the French Open and has been impressive with her results of late. The Czech came close to upsetting Ka.Pliskova in Paris, played two great matches in Mallorca, before dismantling Kateryna Bondarenko 6-4 6-4 in the first round. Safarova is always going to be a dangerous player for anyone on a grass court with the all-out aggressive game she plays, especially for a mostly defensive player like Radwanska.

Head to head: Safarova leads the head to head 4-1, however the two have not played since 2011. This will be their first meeting on a grass court.

Thoughts: I had Aga winning this match-up in the draw, however with her first round performance I’m not really sure she can handle Safarova’s power and aggression. She will need to play less passively but she’s struggling with a flu and thus this match will largely depend on the Czech. Lucie’s been playing good of late but I wonder if she’ll struggle with the nerves when trying to close out the match. I’ll be cheering on the Pole but picking Lucie for the upset in 3.

Final Prediction: Lucie Safarova d. Agnieszka Radwanska in three sets

Thanks for reading! Check out my Wimbledon predictions here or at the top of the page!

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