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Pliskova vs Zvonareva WTA Moscow Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Singapore-chasing Pliskova takes on local favourite Zvonareva in Moscow opener

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 17 Oct 2018
  • Karolina Pliskova vs Vera Zvonareva is live from Moscow on Wednesday, 17 October from 12:30pm local time/ 10:30am BST
  • First meeting between Pliskova and Zvonareva
Karolina Pliskova. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Still looking to confirm her spot at the season-ending WTA Finals, former world number one, Karolina Pliskova takes on home favourite, Vera Zvonareva in the second round of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow on Wednesday.

Pliskova currently occupies the eighth and final spot in the race to Singapore, and as a result, she has got her fate in her own hands as she looks to book a return to the season-ending showpiece for the third straight year. Pliskova will confirm her spot among the Elite 8 if she reaches the semi-finals in Moscow, but any other result could still be good enough as long as Kiki Bertens, currently ninth in the race, does not make the semi-finals this week.

Looking through Pliskova's season, I find it slightly surprising that she could still possibly miss out on Singapore, but should that turn out to be the case, the Czech will look back at her inability to produce enough big results through the course of the year. She has put herself in very good positions throughout the season, but she hasn't quite had the finishing touches in most of the big events.

The former world number one reached at least the quarter finals in five of her first six tournaments on hard courts, but she made only one semi-final in that run- in Brisbane. She stepped up the results at the start of the clay-court season, claiming the Stuttgart title and reaching the semi-finals at the Premier Mandatory tournament in Madrid in what was arguably her best spell of the season, but a promising period on clay ended with an opening round loss to Maria Sakkari in Rome, and a heavy defeat to Maria Sharapova in the third round at Roland Garros. 

While she wasn't bad on grass, she reached the quarter finals in Birmingham and the fourth-round at Wimbledon, she was certainly bad on her return to North America, going 2-3 between Montreal, Cincinnati and New Haven. Despite her dodgy pre-tournament form, Pliskova still managed a quarter final at the US Open, moving through without dropping a set before being stopped by Serena Williams. Pliskova was good in Asia, baring one blip in Wuhan, where she was beaten by an in-form Qiang Wang in the opening round. She picked up her second title of the season in Tokyo, defeating home favourite and US Open champion, Naomi Osaka in the final, while she reached the Tianjin final just last week, falling to Caroline Garcia in the title match.

Pliskova produced a really strong run in Asia, and if she can reproduce that form for one more week in Moscow, it should be good enough to get her into the WTA Finals.

It's not the most straightforward of opening matches, as the Czech runs into home favourite, and former world number two, Vera Zvonareva on Wednesday.

A 34-year-old with 12 tour titles, and two Grand Slam singles finals, Zvonareva is a very capable player, and the crowd will be very much into this contest as the Moscow-born player attempts to score her biggest win since her return from maternity leave.

Vera Zvonareva. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Following a two-year hiatus from tennis, during which time she got married and became a mother, Zvonareva returned to the sport in March last year at an ITF meet in Istanbul. Three tournaments into her comeback, the Russian picked up the title at the 15K tournament in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. She then reached the final at the WTA 125K meet in Dalian, and made the semi-finals in Tashkent en route finishing the season at 203 in the world.

The 34-year-old has alternated between the ITF and WTA Tours this year. She has had more joy in the lower tier, reaching two quarter finals at ITF level, while she is yet to string together consecutive wins on the WTA Tour, although she did come through three rounds of qualifying at both Wimbledon and the US Open. Zvonareva won main draw matches in St. Petersburg, Bucharest, the US Open and Tashkent, but went on to lose in the round after those victories.

She has once again had to come through the qualifying rounds in Moscow, which she did without much trouble. After scoring a 6-3 6-3 victory over Irina Khromacheva in her main draw opener to register her fifth WTA match win of the season, can the former world number two, now 161st in the rankings, take down Pliskova to record back-to-back WTA main draw wins for the first time this in 2018?

It's the first meeting between Pliskova and Zvonareva, and the in-form Pliskova is an obvious favourite here. As long as she does not get overwhelmed by the crowd and the stakes, the Czech should get the win, and keep her quest for a spot in Singapore right on track.

Karolina Pliskova vs Vera Zvonareva is live from Moscow on Wednesday, 17 October from 12:30pm local time/ 10:30am BST

*Geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify 

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Pliskova vs Zvonareva WTA Moscow Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Singapore-chasing Pliskova takes on local favourite Zvonareva in Moscow opener

Karolina Pliskova begins her Moscow campaign against former world number two, Vera Zvonareva on Wednesday. Will Pliskova stay on track in her quest for the WTA Finals? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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