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Pliskova vs Wang WTA Cincinnati live streaming, preview and tips - Pliskova begins bid for second Cincinnati crown against lucky loser Wang

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 14 Aug 2019
  • Karolina Pliskova vs Wang Yafan is live from Cincinnati around 12.30pm local time on Wednesday (5.30pm BST)
  • It's the first career meeting between the pair
Karolina Pliskova (PA Images)

Former champion Karolina Pliskova launches her Western and Southern Open campaign on Wednesday when she comes up against Acapulco champion Wang Yafan.

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World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova begins her bid for a second Western and Southern Open title on Wednesday in Cincinnati against lucky loser Wang Yafan of China.

Pliskova secured one of the biggest titles of her career three years ago in Cincinnati, defeating three top 10 players on the trot as the World No. 17 - including Svetlana Kuznetsova, Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber - to take home the silverware. That run would of course propel Pliskova to bigger and better things, starting with the Czech reaching her first (and to date only) Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open just a few weeks later, while Pliskova would go on to hit the No. 1 ranking midway through 2017 and has generally been a consistent top 10 player over the last three years.

The biggest issue for Pliskova is that while she clearly has the game to win Grand Slams and Premier Mandatory tournaments, she has constantly stumbled when it matters most. The Czech is yet to win a title above Premier-5 level and hasn’t been back to a Grand Slam final since that aforementioned run in New York in 2016. Winning titles in general hasn’t been a problem - Pliskova prevailed in Stuttgart and Tokyo last year, while she’s already secured silverware in Brisbane, Rome and Eastbourne in 2019, becoming the only player to win titles across all surfaces. However, Pliskova hasn’t been able to lift for the slams, losing in the third round of the French Open to Petra Martic and fourth round of Wimbledon to Karolina Muchova.

In saying that, Pliskova is still producing consistent results and is ranked World No. 3 because of it, bu sometimes, in my opinion, that ranking is generous in relation to how she performs at the big events. Can Pliskova get something cooking ahead of the U.S. Open this week in Cincinnati after falling to eventual champion Bianca Andreescu in the quarter-finals at the Rogers Cup last week?


Wang Yafan is her first opponent on Wednesday. After being sidelined with injury for the first five months of 2018, Wang compiled a very fruitful 2018 that saw her rise over 100 spots in the rankings from outside of the top 170 and into the top 70, with the Chinese player winning the $60k ITF title in Liuzhou and finishing runner-up at the $60k in Jinan, while she also made the final of the WTA 125k in Zhengzhou, made the semi-finals in Taipei and enjoyed a great run to the Round of 16 of the Miami Open from qualifying.

Wang ended last season at No. 73 in the world and she’s gone to another level in 2019, cracking the top 50 for the first time in March after winning her maiden WTA title in Acapulco, beating Donna Vekic and Sofia Kenin along the way. Wang also made the semi-finals in Shenzhen to start the season and repeated her run to the fourth round in Miami, where she took out sixth seed Elina Svitolina along the way. However, Wang went on a six-match losing run during the clay season and hasn’t been able to improve that ranking as a result, coming into Cincinnati at No. 52. The 25-year-old also lost in qualifying against Iga Swiatek, but has gained entry into the main draw as a lucky loser.

All in all, this is a good match-up for Pliskova in her opening match. Wang has some power, but not as much as the Czech, so Pliskova should be able to dictate from the baseline and basically control this match on her own terms. Barring an error-ridden performance, Pliskova will likely cruise into the Round of 16.


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Pliskova vs Wang WTA Cincinnati live streaming, preview and tips - Pliskova begins bid for second Cincinnati crown against lucky loser Wang

Former champion Karolina Pliskova launches her Western and Southern Open campaign on Wednesday when she comes up against Acapulco champion Wang Yafan.

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