The 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix will conclude with Sunday’s singles final between CoCo Vandeweghe and the number six seed, Karolina Pliskova in Stuttgart. Both players won their semi-final matches on Saturday with a 6-4 6-2 scoreline. It’s an unexpected final in that neither CoCo and Karolina have had great years up till now and both cite clay as their weakest surface. Their performances showcase Stuttgart’s unique clay court surface that frequently rewards big servers.
With a trio of top ten wins this week, Vandeweghe is into her sixth WTA final and first on clay. Vandeweghe dropped just two points behind her first serve in a stellar serving performance against an increasingly rushed, Caroline Garcia. I’ve been impressed with CoCo’s focus this week and she hasn’t shown any signs of losing the plot… yet!
Pliskova’s serving was also impressive in her straight sets win over Anett Kontaveit. The Czech player won 16 out of 16 points on serve in the second set (!) and dropped just five points in the opener. Pliskova’s performance in the second set was the best i’ve seen her play in a long, long time. Kontaveit played a pretty solid match.
We’ve had some classic finals in Stuttgart over recent years with Siegemund-Mladenovic from 2017 one of the best matches of the year. In all honesty, the thought of a Vandeweghe vs. Pliskova final does very little for me 😂. Vandeweghe leads the head-to-head, 3-2, and won their most recent match at the US Open last year. In their only previous match on clay, Pliskova won in Stuttgart last year, 7-6(2) 6-4. All five previous matches have been decided in straight sets with their last four matches being decided in the first set on a tiebreak. Therefore, this would suggest that the first set will be crucial.
As to a winner? 🤔🤔🤔
Before Pliskova-Kontaveit had played, I was thinking Vandeweghe was going to win this. After Pliskova’s performance against Kontaveit, i’ve changed my mind. I’d generally have more faith in Pliskova delivering a sound display as i’m still wary about Vandeweghe throwing in a shocker in what will be a high-pressure environment. The return of Pliskova’s dominance on serve has been key this week and she has been gritty and resolute in defence when on the back foot.