Karolina Pliskova looks to make her mark at the French Open on Thursday when she takes on Jelena Ostapenko for a spot in the third round. Ostapenko was the shock winner of the event back in 2017 but had not won a match in any of her other previous visits to Paris before doing so in round one. The bottom quarter of the draw represents a good opportunity for a number of players with the projected seeds to advance being Pliskova and Petra Kvitova, both of whom can often struggle for consistency.
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In a week where many flashy big hitters were dispatched in round one, you’d expect the inconsistent Ostapenko to go the same way. Instead, she dominated the more steady Madison Brengle in a 6-2 6-1 win. It was a great display of aggression from the Latvian who hit an impressive 46 winners to 37 unforced errors in the victory.
Pliskova had a much tougher time against Mayar Sherif, needing three sets to advance against the debuting Egyptian 6-7 6-2 6-4. There were question marks over her readiness after retiring in the Rome final and the manner of this victory will not have done much to dispel worries. “Let’s not talk about my level,” Pliskova said after the match. “I think there is big room for improvement, but it is what it is and I’m in the next round, which counts.”
Pliskova is here for the taking in this one if an inspired Ostapenko shows up. Where others struggled, Ostapenko had no issues hitting through the conditions in her opener and will fancy her chances of catching the No.2 seed off guard. “With Jelena, we had some good matches, some strange matches. I think she’s a lot up and down but for sure she can just play well. From the baseline she can really hit the ball. She can make a lot of winners, but also a lot of mistakes.” the Czech said.
Prediction – Jelena Ostapenko in three sets