Karolina Pliskova looks to continue her strong start to 2020 on Thursday, taking on Laura Siegemund for a spot in the third round of the Australian Open. The second seed is amongst the favourites for the title and will finally hope to break her slam duck and avoid being on a small list of players with a No.1 ranking to their name but no grand slam.
Siegemund is trying to fight her way back into the top 50 but looks a long way from her career high of No.26 right now. The German’s best results have generally come on clay but at slams, her best performances have been third round exits both here and in New York. She cruised past a rusty Coco Vandeweghe in round one, breaking three times in her 6-1 6-4 win over the American. It follows a quarter final in Auckland, which she lost comfortably to eventual winner Serena Williams.
Pliskova is still sometimes vulnerable early at slams but navigated a potentially tricky clash with Kristina Mladenovic with a relatively low level of fuss, hitting 20 winners on her way to a 6-1 7-5 victory. She earned the vital break at 5-5 in set 2 before holding from 0-30 to move into the next round. “It definitely was a tough first round and a tough draw for me. In the end, I think it was a good test to start with such a high-quality match. I know Kiki very well, since we were both a young age, so I knew it was going to be tough. We had some good matches in the past. It was especially tough mentally in the second set, but I’m happy to be through.” she said. The Czech has a new coaching team this year and it is going well for them so far, with Pliskova now unbeaten in five having won the Brisbane title once more.
Siegemund does actually lead the head to head over her much higher ranked opponent, having won their only meeting back in 2017 at Stuttgart. “She’s using pretty much everything what she can use on the court, dropshots, coming to the net.” Pliskova said of the matchup. The German is likely to throw all sorts of trickery at her but will find it tough with the No.2 seed in confident form.
Prediction – Karolina Pliskova in straight sets