Czech superstar, Karolina Pliskova will open her 2019 Qatar Open in the second round after receiving an opening round bye due to her high seeding. Pliskova will face Elise Mertens from Belgium in the second round.
Karolina Pliskova has had an extremely strong start to the 2019 season as she won WTA Brisbane International in the opening week of January. Following the Brisbane International, Pliskova played at the Australian Open where she had a very good tournament. Pliskova made the semifinals of the Australian Open. During the tournament, Pliskova eliminated Serena Williams. The Qatar Open has treated Karolina Pliskova well in the past as she won the title at this event in 2017. Considering her recent form and her record in Qatar, Karolina Pliskova will be very hard to stop in this tournament.
Elise Mertens, on the other hand, had a comfortable win in the opening round as she won in straight sets. During the win, Mertens returned serve exceptionally well as she won 49% of her return points which allowed her to break her opponent’s serve on 4 occasions. In addition to that, Elise Mertens won 89% of her service games. Elise Mertens has had a decent 2019 season although she has failed to make it past the quarterfinals of a tournament. Considering her lack of big wins this season, Elise Mertens will find it hard to compete against a strong player like Karolina Pliskova.
This is going to be the first time that Elise Mertens and Karolina Pliskova will be playing each other at a WTA event.
All in all, I am picking Karolina Pliskova to win this match. Pliskova is in supreme form having recently won the Brisbane International. Furthermore, Pliskova has a great record at this venue. With all that in mind, I think Pliskova will be too strong for Elise Mertens and I see Czech superstar winning this match with ease.