Second seed Karolina Pliskova faces what could be a rollercoaster battle against 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. Pliskova vs…
Second seed Karolina Pliskova faces what could be a rollercoaster battle against 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
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Pliskova vs Ostapenko is live from Roland Garros on Wednesday 30 September, 11am local/10am BST
Pushed unexpectedly hard by Egyptian trailblazer Mayar Sherif in the first round, Karolina Pliskova could be in for another stern test as she takes on Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the last 32 at the French Open.
Ostapenko, the French Open champion in 2017, is the definition of inconsistent but a tremendous shotmaker who has given Pliskova much trouble in the past, including winning their most recent encounter.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
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Pliskova vs Ostapenko: Head-to-head
Karolina Pliskova has a 3-2 record against Jelena Ostapenko, and won their only clay-court encounter in Stuttgart in 2018 5-7, 7-5, 6-4.
Ostapenko won their most recent encounter, defeating Pliskova 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in Beijing last autumn.
Pliskova vs Ostapenko: Preview
Karolina Pliskova’s US swing did not go to plan, as she suffered an early US Open defeat to Caroline Garcia, but an impressive run to the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, where she was the defending champion, made her chances of a deep French Open run look much more positive – at least, until she had to pull out of the final against Simona Halep trailing 0-6, 1-2 due to a thigh injury.
Pliskova seemed optimistic about bouncing back for Roland Garros, but I’m not sure her first-round performance was terribly convincing. Egyptian qualifier Mayar Sherif, who had made history by becoming the first woman from her country to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam, handled the occasion really well and played some great tennis, but Pliskova didn’t look to me to be moving as well as she might in the 6-7(9), 6-2, 6-4 victory.
The Czech did, however, noticeably loosen up as the match went on, so perhaps it was just a case of needing to get the legs moving.
Pliskova made a semifinal run at the French Open in 2017 and made back-to-back third rounds in 2018-19, but before that she had failed to win consecutive matches in five previous main-draw appearances and she has yet to make the last 16 of a major this year.
Under these circumstances Jelena Ostapenko is not exactly the opponent she wants to face in the second round. The Latvian memorably stormed to the French Open title in 2017 despite being ranked world no. 47, and was a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2018, but a game plagued by double faults and uncertainty over how best to approach matches tactically – should she go for broke on her shots, knowing she’s going to give up a lot of unforced errors and hit herself off the court a lot of the time but be unbeatable on her day, or should she try to learn how to add more margin? – saw her slump outside the top 80 in 2019.
Ostapenko turned things around at the end of last season by reaching consecutive finals in Linz and Luxembourg, winning the second, and is 6-6 in 2020, winning back-to-back matches in Doha in February and Strasbourg last week, where she made the quarterfinals (helped by a retirement from Kiki Bertens) before losing to Nao Hibino. She crushed Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-1 in the first round, and certainly has a history of challenging Pliskova – in their second career meeting at the Australian Open in 2017, Ostapenko led Pliskova 5-2 in the decider before, as she would herself say, choking and losing 8-10. The last two matches they have played have been tight, with five of six sets going past 4-4; Ostapenko certainly doesn’t find Pliskova’s game intimidating, but her own serve often lets her down, crumbling under pressure and seeing her double fault. I think this will be a lengthy battle.