An entertaining rivalry that was first brought to life at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix event five years ago will get the latest chapter in its history written on Thursday afternoon, as Caroline Wozniacki and Lucie Safarova cross paths for a seventh time on the professional circuit. With their head-to-head series ties at 3-3, this will serve as the thrilling rubber match encounter to determine who will take the lead. It will also mark their first clay court meeting since the last time they crossed paths at this German event half a decade ago.
Following her title victory at Kuala Lumpur, where she did not beat a single player in the Top 50, Caroline Wozniacki a third round exit to Belinda Bencic at Indian Wells, and a fourth round exit in Miami to Venus Williams. This will now mark her first clay court meeting of the season, a portion of the year that she did not do remarkably well in last year. The world No. 5 reached the semi-finals in Monterrey, the second round in Madrid, and suffered a surprise first round exit at the French Open to Yanina Wickmayer.
Wozniacki’s first clay court opponent of the season will be the tough, durable Lucie Safarova, who defeated qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko 7-6(8), 6-4 to reach the second round in Stuttgart. She struck 12 aces, won 77% of her first service points and broke serve on two occasions to close out the match in one hour and 40 minutes.
Since this rivalry began half a decade ago, Wozniacki and Safarova have split six meetings on the WTA tour for a 3-3 record in the head-to-head series. Safarova won the most recent meeting on the tour – their only encounter in 2014 at the start of the season in Sydney. The Czech also won their only previous clay court meeting, which took place at this very event in Stuttgart. Can she find a way to hold onto that momentum and recreate her first win against the Dane five years ago?
Prediction: Lucie Safarova in Three Sets