Italian Open 2021: Karolina Pliskova vs Iga Swiatek preview, head-to-head & prediction

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Match details

Fixture: (9) Karolina Pliskova vs (15) Iga Swiatek

Date: 16 May 2021

Tournament: Internazionali BNL d’italia 2021

Round: Finals

Venue: Rome, Italy

Category: WTA 1000

Surface: Red clay

Prize money: €1,577,613

Match timing: 2.30 pm local time, 12.30 pm GMT, 8.30 am EST

Live telecast: USA – Tennis Channel | UK – Amazon Prime Video

Karolina Pliskova vs Iga Swiatek preview

Karolina Pliskova came through a close three-set battle against Petra Martic on Saturday to move to a third consecutive Italian Open final. The Czech – who came into the tournament with a poor 10-8 win-loss record for the season – has managed to turn her year around this week, and will now have her eyes set on a second title in Rome.

Awaiting Pliskova in the summit clash is reigning Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek, who pulled off back-to-back match wins on Saturday to secure her spot.

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek

Swiatek started her day off with a win over fourth seed and two-time former Rome champion Elina Svitolina in a quarterfinal match that was moved to Saturday morning due to rain. The Pole was in top form throughout the match, using her big groundstrokes to keep Svitolina from ever feeling too comfortable.

Swiatek returned to court in the evening to put up a near repeat of her two-set win from earlier in the day. The youngster has now won 14 of her last 15 matches on the red dirt, and will enter Sunday’s final looking to better that stat.

Karolina Pliskova vs Iga Swiatek head-to-head

This is set to be the first career meeting between Karolina Pliskova and Iga Swiatek, so their current head-to-head stands at a 0-0 deadlock.

Karolina Pliskova vs Iga Swiatek prediction

Karolina Pliskova will need to rely on his serve to keep her opponent at bay.
Karolina Pliskova will need to rely on his serve to keep her opponent at bay.

Karolina Pliskova definitely enjoys playing in Rome. The 2019 champion has been able to fix a lot of the problems that were plaguing her game – in particular her poor numbers on return and her serving woes – before this week, and has played her best tennis in quite some time.

That said, Pliskova could still do with some improvement in her break point conversion and her success rate behind the second serve.

As for Iga Swaitek, her win over Barbora Krejcikova seems to have cleared her head; the Pole has put up very strong showings in her last two encounters. Her serving numbers have gotten better, and that has helped lift her overall game.

The key for Pliskova will be to find a way to push Swiatek on the backfoot, because that is when her groundstrokes begin to lose shape and produce errors. The Czech definitely has the weaponry needed to do so, but she will need to maintain her level of intensity for long periods – something she hasn’t been able to do for much of the last year.

Pliskova might be the more experienced of the two players, but it is Swiatek who has handled the tight situations better this week. And in a close match-up like this one, that could make all the difference.

Prediction: Iga Swiatek to win in three sets.

Published 15 May 2021, 22:25 IST




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