The second seed Karolina Pliskova managed to avoid going the way of her fellow top star Angelique Kerber in round one but there is still little faith in the Czech to be a contender here after her inconsistencies in 2017. However, a fairly weak draw to the latter stages might see her get there by default. She plays Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova in round two.
Alexandrova had one of the shock wins in round one, knocking off Katerina Siniakova in a tight 3 setter. Due to the fact she has spent much of her time in ITFs and qualifiers this year, it was just her second match against a top 50 player in 2017 but she held up under pressure well. A run of 13 straight wins at ITF level saw her move to a career high after the recent tournament in Trnava, her run ending in a retirement loss to another Czech in Marketa Vondrousova.
Just 5-4 with two quarter finals her best showing, there has been little hype over Pliskova with Timea Bacsinszky probably her only good win over the European swing. It seemed like she could struggle in her opener against Saisai Zheng and did so for a while, having to break to stay in the first set. After fighting through, the second set was a little more routine for her as she closed it out 7-5 6-2 in the end. The World No.1 spot is still a possibility for Pliskova but even though she may make it through this match, a proper crack at the top spot is more likely to come on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
Prediction – Karolina Pliskova in straight sets