NEW MATCH-UP ALERT! For the first time on the WTA tour, Karolina Pliskova and Jelena Jankovic will play each other in third round action in Cincinnati. Both players won their matches on Wednesday in straight sets. For Pliskova, it was her first match of the week after having a bye in the first round. I still haven’t quite got used to Pliskova receiving byes in Premier draws but it demonstrates how far she has come this year. The Czech player defeated Timea Babos in two tight sets, 6-4 7-5. Although both are big servers, the match featured 12 breaks of serve with a pattern of 7 breaks in 9 games at one point.
Jankovic beat Madison Keys, 7-6(4) 6-4, recovering a 5-3 first set deficit. This match wasn’t streamed which was really disappointing. If I was writing the schedule, I think this match would have been on Center Court. From the video below from @lawanda50 (a great follow on Twitter) it doesn’t look like Keys was in a good place in the second set.
Jankovic always does well in Cincy and once again, I fell into the trap! There have been a number of occasions this year where Keys has played a great first match but not been able to back it up…
Brisbane: R1 – Keys d. Cibulkova, 7-5 6-2, R2 – Lepchenko d. Keys, 6-4 6-4
Indian Wells: R2 – Keys d. Koukalova, 6-3 6-2, R3 – Jankovic d. Keys, 5-7 6-4 6-3
Rome: R1 – Keys d. Brengle, 6-2 6-4, R2 – Jovanovski d. Keys, 6-4 1-6 6-3
Stanford: R1 – Keys d. Krunic, 6-3 6-0, R2 – Tomljanovic d. Keys, 1-6 6-4 6-1
Madison’s year has been totally funky. She has made a Grand Slam quarter-final and a Grand Slam semi-final which is great but the consistency isn’t there yet… and that’s not a problem as she is still young! There have been quite a few occasions this year where there have been tears on the court and I hope she can figure it out over time.
Jankovic goes up against another big server in Pliskova. While she still makes quite a few errors, I’d go as far to say that Pliskova is pretty solid these days and has become reliable at eeking out wins. Pliskova will need to serve better though than she did against Babos; she had just 56% of first serves in, winning 66% of points behind the first serve and just 38% behind the second serve. I’m leaning towards Pliskova in this match-up…