Thursday, 23 March 2017

Pliskova has weapons to take Miami

Angie Kerber has regained the number one world ranking, or more correctly Serena Williams has surrendered it to her by virtue of not competing in Indian Wells.  Serena is not swinging her racquet in South Florida either, which would normally make Kerber outright favourite for the Miami Open.

However Angie has yet to demonstrate the form that enabled her to reach three of the four Grand Slam finals in 2016, capturing two.
Instead this year the chocolates have been shared amongst a variety of women with eyes for Kerber's mantle.

Karolina Pliskova has two titles, as does Elina Svitolina.  Elena Vesnina won just last week in Indian Wells and Svetlana Kuznetsova was a close runner-up,  putting both in contention again.
Others with consistent results on the board in 2017 are Caroline Wozniacki, Kristina Mladenovic, Venus Williams and Dominika Cibulkova.

First round matches are being played in both the women's and men's draws at the moment, with all the seeded players having a bye.
Assuming second round success for the seeds, there will be some interesting match ups for the ladies.

Kerber looks to be fairly comfortable in her early matches, possibly facing Daria Kasatkina and Kiki Bertens as toughest contests in reaching a quarter final.  There she is likely to be confronted by either Kuznetsova, Venus Williams or Mladenovic,  previously mentioned as form players on the tour.
The winner of this quarter is the probable finalist, as she would be asked to defeat the winner of the weakest quarter of the draw.

Simona Halep is the third seed, and has little tennis to back up her claims in Miami, while eighth seed Madison Keys is fronting up for only her second tournament since recovering from surgery.
Johanna Konta is capable of better than recent showings and could be the one to pop up from this section, while Timea Babos did win in Budapest recently, albeit in a lower class field.

The bottom half of the draw has some exciting potential matches.  Garbine Muguruza could very well be meeting Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round, as should Elena Vesnina have to battle Dominika Cibulkova (now number 4 in the world - a career high).
Difficult to pick the semi finalist from that quality section.
I lean towards Wozniacki but any of the four would not surprise. 

Who will fill the fourth semi final spot ?  Karolina Pliskova has to be favourite, and her biggest hurdle will not be from 5th seed Aga Radwanska, because I believe the Polish player will have been ousted by 9th seed Elina Svitolina in the fourth round. (or maybe by someone else earlier)
Aga's season is, by her lofty standards, a disaster to this point.  She has dropped to 8 in the world, the lowest she has been since 2011.

Possible early thorns in Pliskova's side could be Yulia Putintseva or even countrywoman Barbora Strycova.  However, if the second seed can find consistency on serve as she had at the start of the year,  this tournament should be hers to lose.

No comments:

Post a Comment