WTA Madrid, 2nd Round Preview: Karolina Pliskova v Caroline Garcia

Caroline GarciaThird up on Stadium 3 at not before 3pm local time in Madrid, Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Garcia will meet in the second round in what is my favourite WTA match-up of the day on Tuesday. Karolina Pliskova is enjoying a superb year and kicked off her clay court season with a victory in Prague.  The first couple of matches were ropey, but her ability to prevail when not playing at her best has proven to be one of her greatest attributes.  In the final, she came from a set down to beat Lucie Hradecka, 4-6 7-5 6-3 to win her fourth WTA title.  Pliskova had previously gone 0-2 in finals in 2015, losing against top ten opposition on both occasions.

Pliskova had no days off between Prague and Madrid, but that didn’t seem to bother her.  Pliskova beat Silvia Soler-Espinosa on Sunday, 6-1 6-2 in just 62 minutes.  Big servers have tended to do well in Madrid and that certainly appeared to be the case based on Pliskova’s first round match as she lost just six points on her first serve.  Another big hitter, Caroline Garcia had an excellent run in Madrid last year reaching the quarter-finals with wins over Angelique Kerber and Sara Errani before losing a tight three setter to Agnieszka Radwanska.

Garcia started 2015 in solid form, upsetting Svetlana Kuznetsova en route to reaching the third round at the Australian Open and securing appearances in back-to-back finals in Acapulco and Monterrey, only to be thwarted by Timea Bacsinszky.  Her season since then has been characterised by two wins over Ana Ivanovic and a handful of shaky losses.  Garcia’s game is rather majestic to watch when she’s in the groove…WHEN! Garcia plays with an ultra-aggressive and high risk game plan, which means it can get messy.

In their only previous match, Pliskova beat Garcia in Cincy in 2013, 3-6 6-3 6-3.  Garcia had some good results on clay last year and although I think this surface suits her game better, Pliskova’s far superior mental toughness is likely to win the day if this match gets tight.  Pliskova may have had a taxing week in Prague where she played three sets in four of her five matches but she has shown on many occasions, notably the trio of tournaments that she played in Hong Kong, Seoul and Wuhan last year, that she can play back-to-back weeks and more importantly, keep on winning.

Prediction: Pliskova d. Garcia in 2 tight sets

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

23 thoughts on “WTA Madrid, 2nd Round Preview: Karolina Pliskova v Caroline Garcia

  1. Garcia has to be one of the best technical players on tour,she needs to improve her mental ability,hopefully it will come,I love watching her play,I am sticking with Pliskova in a close match

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    • I agree. She plays rather like a young Ivanovic but without the odd ball toss and much stronger on the backhand side.

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  2. Garcia needs a lot of fine tuning for her aggresion, aka translated in her strokes. Though beautiful, her strokes are somewhat erratic, overpowered at times. Despite being french, she lacks “finesse” completely. A completely different but complementary player to Alize Cornet let’s say.

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    • I agree. But she’s shown that at times she is capable of relaxing and controlling her aggression, unlike Kvitova or Pliskova for example.

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  3. Well there are many fans of Garcia here on this forum but the way she lost to Madison Brengle in Stutgart was so awful and speaks about her low mental attitude, no doubt how skillfull you are in sports it all comes down to your mental calmness.She has long way to go to be even top 5.
    As far the game Karolina Pliskova(the best emerging WTA player for me) should win in 2 sets(one tough, one easy), but she also have a habit of loosing one set every now and then.

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    • Garcia plays better against tough opponents than easy ones. She likes being the underdog. On the whole she’s having a pretty good year so far and the Clay is her preferred surface (though I think Grass will be her most successful)

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  4. Wow @ Caroline Garcia. Perhaps the best performance from any woman this year for me. Pliskova played as well as I’ve ever seen her play and she got demolished in that final set. I’d love to see the stats because it felt like Garcia barely made any unforced errors and hit a LOT of winners.

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      • She hit 40 winners against 18 unforced errors, hit 12 aces and had a first serve percentage of over 70%. And Pliskova’s stats aren’t much lower, either.
        It’s just a shame the crowd were so limp or I think it’d have been one of the best matches of the year- it just lacked atmosphere, sadly.

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      • I just saw the stats on Twitter… that’s really impressive. Pliskova’s aren’t bad either. Always a shame when there isn’t much of an atmosphere because that always adds something to a match.

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  5. We;; done Garcia,actually I enjoyed the match,Garcia ran away with the match in the 3rd set.Yep impressive stats.

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  6. The so called ‘Magic Box’ in Madrid does lack atmosphere at times:) I have one of my favorite clay tournaments coming up in Roma,which I have attended many times over the years.I was delighted when it became a joint event.

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  7. No sad to say,next year for sure,I was born in Italy,so I guess I am a bit biased,I usually combine a holiday as well,then go to Roland Garos.BTW at Rome tournament,you have great access to all the players,the officials have really upgraded the facilities,food is good and not expensive.A really good tournament to attend.

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    • Sounds great! I’d love to attend Rome one day, it looks a great tournament. On the other hand, Madrid doesn’t nothing for me. I wish Rome was the Premier Mandatory and came before Madrid.

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      • I personally prefer Rome to be played just before Roland Garos,which I feel it is a good warm up tournament.Madrid has high altitude,thank goodness it has returned to ‘real clay’ not that phony ‘blue clay’ lol!

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      • That’s a fair point. Perhaps, if there was a bit of a gap between Madrid and Rome because I feel having the tournaments back-to-back takes the gloss of Rome a little.

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