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WTA Seoul Maria Kirilenko vs Karolina Pliskova live stream, start time and match preview

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 19 Sep 2014
Karolina Pliskova (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)

Could Karolina Pliskova make her second WTA Tour final in two weeks? Not if a resurgent Maria Kirilenko has anything to say about it. They face off in the semifinals of the Kia Korea Open.  

Watch Pliskova vs Kirilenko live:

Karolina Pliskova made her third final of the year at International level last week in Hong Kong, falling short to Sabine Lisicki – a third runner’s-up plate for the big-serving Czech in 2014. Only Angelique Kerber has reached more finals without winning one this season, and Pliskova could tie that record if she beats Maria Kirilenko in the WTA Seoul semifinal on Saturday.

On the face of it, the Czech’s chances look excellent: The world no. 32, in her fifth semifinal of the year, taking on the world no. 155, who hasn’t won back-to-back matches all season. But Kirilenko is not quite the player which these facts conjure up. With six career titles to her name and a career-high ranking of world no. 10 in June of 2013, Kirilenko missed the first four months of the 2014 season due to injury – unable to defend a fourth-round finish at the Australian Open, a title in Pattaya City and a run to the semifinals of Indian Wells and Monterrey as a result – and took a consequent dive in the rankings. 

Understandably rusty since returning to the WTA Tour, Kirilenko has established a 2-7 win-loss record since coming back to action in Charleston, with her only wins coming over world no. 101 Kristina Mladenovic in Madrid and an excellent defeat of eighteenth seed Sloane Stephens at Wimbledon. 

But things seem to have been coming together for the Russian in Seoul. Opening with a three-set defeat of Kuala Lumpur champion Donna Vekic, Kirilenko went on to defeat third seed Klara Koukalova and sixth seed Kaia Kanepi – each in three sets, meaning that the Russian has played nine sets so far in Seoul. It’s Kirilenko’s first semifinal since Monterrey in 2013.
Karolina Pliskova, meanwhile, backed up her run to the finals in Hong Kong by beating Julia Glushko, Anna-Lena Friedsam and Nicole Gibbs, dropping just one set against Friedsam in the second round. The big-serving Czech hasn’t captured a title in 2014, after winning her maiden title in Kuala Lumpur in 2013, but this is the fourth International-level semifinal she’s reached, and only failed to go on to reach the final once – in Kuala Lumpur.

You would think that after eight matches in two weeks Pliskova might be getting a little fatigued, but there’s been little sign of it so far. The Czech, whose big serve elevates her sometimes pedestrian ground game, is in excellent form and scored a big win over Ana Ivanovic at the US Open. She has never played Kirilenko but should be able to overpower the Russian from the baseline.

On the other hand, Kirilenko reinvented her game somewhat mid-career with a more aggressive approach, leveraging her excellent movement and good hands into a more forward-looking approach to the game which could cause the more one-dimensional Pliskova some problems – but Kirilenko hasn’t had to play four matches in a week for quite some time and after her tough three-set battles in the early rounds, might not have a lot left physically to throw at Pliskova.  

Kirilenko and Pliskova are scheduled on court in Seoul at 12.30pm (4.30am BST)

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WTA Seoul Maria Kirilenko vs Karolina Pliskova live stream, start time and match preview

Big-serving Pliskova has a good chance to reach her second final in two weeks at the Kia Korea Open

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