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Karolina Pliskova vs Maria Sakkari WTA Rome tennis live: Pliskova looks for elusive success at Internazionali BNL d’Italia

Ricky Dimon in WTA Tour 16 May 2018
  • Karolina Pliskova is coming off a semifinal showing in Madrid
  • Maria Sakkari booked her spot in round two by beating Kiki BertensM
  • Pliskova vs Sakkari Internazionali BNL d'Italia tennis is live from Rome on Wednesday at 1:00pm local/12:00pm BST

Karolina Pliskova reacts after winning a point against Simona Halep during their WTA Madrid Open quarterfinal match at the Caja Magica in Madrid on May 10, 2018. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

Karolina Pliskova will get her week started in Rome when she takes the court against dangerous opponent Maria Sakkari on Wednesday.

Relative to to the monopoly that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have at the top of the rankings, there is a wild scrum for the WTA's No. 1 ranking among its top 10 players. That has been the case ever since Serena Williams' stranglehold on the No. 1 spot was relinquished and parity certainly remains the norm in 2018. Caroline Wozniacki and Garbine Muguruza are the closest competitors to Simona Halep, but even Karolina Pliskova at No. 5 is only 1,845 points behind the top-ranked Halep. Simple match shows that such a deficit could be made up with a single Grand Slam title (2,000 points). For whatever it's worth, everyone in the top 10 is no more than 3,211 points south of Halep (that is Sloane Stephens' deficit in the 10th position).
The bottom line for Pliskova is that not only is she somewhat close to regaining the No. 1 ranking, but she is also not far away from slipping out of the top 10. What she does from now through the French Open--and especially from now through Wimbledon and then the American hard-court summer--will go a long way in determining to which extreme she veers.

Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2018 live stream: WTA tennis live from Rome
For now, the big-hitting Czech is focusing on the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. She lost her opening match at this event in each of her first two trips before making a decent run to the quarterfinals last season.
But even a quarterfinal result is a modest result for a player of Pliskova's ilk. And she went one step further than that last week in Madrid, where she eventually fell in the semifinals to Petra Kvitova.
“Obviously to play Petra I think it’s always little bit different," Pliskova commented. "We both wanted to win. I should just play better, much faster; I know I can play better. I don’t know, maybe I was a little bit too over-motivated. Obviously I wanted to win, to get (to) the final, to beat her. But, yeah, my game was not there. She was better. That’s how it is.”
Had Pliskova defeated Kvitova, she would have faced Kiki Bertens in the Madrid final. If Bertens had won her first-round match in Rome, they would have faced each other on Wednesday. Neither matchup came to fruition, as Bertens' saw her recent hot streak come to an end at the hands of Maria Sakkari via a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 decision.
As such it will be Sakkari who has the tough task of going up against Pliskova during second-round action. The world No. 42 from Greece has been in solid from this season, which is highlighted by a fourth-round performance in Indian Wells, a third-round showing in Miami, and a semifinal result on the red clay of Istanbul.

This will be a difficult one for Sakkari, as Pliskova has reached at least the quarterfinals in five consecutive tournaments--a stretch that includes a clay-court title in Stuttgart.

Karolina Pliskova vs Maria Sakkari Internazionali BNL d’Italia tennis is live from Rome on Wednesday at 1:00pm local/12:00pm BST

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Karolina Pliskova vs Maria Sakkari WTA Rome tennis live: Pliskova looks for elusive success at Internazionali BNL d’Italia

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