Simona Halep is now just one win away from returning to WTA No. 1 spot after Petra Kvitova and Naomi Osaka lost earlier in the week at the Miami Open. It won’t be easy for her against Karolina Pliskova but she does hold a 5-1 tour record against the Czech as well as going 1-1 in Fed Cup action. Check out the Halep vs Pliskova H2H stats.
Marketa Vondrousova looked a tricky match on paper but Pliskova dealt with the youngster in fairly routine style. She broke three times in the 6-3 6-4 win, taking advantage of her opponents low first serve percentage. “I think I’m feeling 100 percent now, maybe not physically, because I’ve had some tough matches. I’m playing these opponents who are defending more than some others, so I’m playing a lot of rallies, but I feel good.” Pliskova said afterwards. Halep may be of a similar defensive style but represents a massive step up from the four unseeded players that have faced the Czech so far.
Halep ended the run of Qiang Wang in the quarter finals, but not before some second set struggles. She was 5-1 down before closing out a 6-3 7-5 win, avoiding a potentially troublesome third set against a zoning player. She attributes a new positive mindset to her stopping matches from spiralling out of control like this one could have. “I am much better, way much better than before. In the last two years I think I didn’t have many matches that I lost because of negativity.” she said.
Halep is strongly motivated by returning to No.1, a far cry from Petra Kvitova’s early comments on the prospect of taking the top spot earlier in the week. “It gives me confidence, because from the two months of the off-season, I didn’t believe I would be so close again so fast. So it’s going to be a big challenge, but I like to play with the pressure. So I hope tomorrow I play my best.” She said. The head to head will give the Romanian plenty of confidence but she still remains vulnerable to attacking players on their best day with Pliskova is more than capable of hitting that level.
Prediction – Simona Halep in three sets