Karolina Pliskova vs. Serena Williams
|Date & Time||Tuesday January 22, 2019, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Karolina Pliskova and Serena Williams meet in the quarterfinals of the 2019 tennis Australian Open.
Karolina Pliskova is coming off a straight sets win over Garbine Muguruza that took 16 games to decide. In the victory, Pliskova won 82 percent of her first serve points and 75 percent of her second serve points. Pliskova won 81 percent of her total service points and converted on five of her seven break points. Pliskova played as clean of a match as she can possibly play, hitting 23 winners and just three unforced errors. Pliskova has now won nine straight matches when you add her Brisbane International title, and you can make an argument she’s gotten stronger in each of her first four performances this tournament. Pliskova is a title contender as long as she can keep her unforced errors under 20 in a match. Pliskova hopes to make her third career grand slam semifinal and the first at the Australian Open. Pliskova is 2-4 in her career in grand slam quarterfinal matches. Pliskova has won 13 of her last 14 matches on hard court.
Serena Williams is coming off a three sets win over Simona Halep that took 27 games to decide. In the victory, Serena won 77 percent of her first serve points and 42 percent of her second serve points. Serena won 63 percent of her total service points and converted on five of her 10 break points. Serena really had to work to win her fourth round match despite winning the first set in seven games, and those competitive juices flowing could help her take her game to another level the rest of the tournament. Serena could improve her second serve numbers, but overall, she’s easily the player to beat on the women’s side given her current form. Serena hopes to make a grand slam semifinal for the 13th time in her last 14 tries. Serena also hopes to make a semifinal of the Australian Open for the ninth time in her career. Serena has won 10 of her last 11 matches on hard court.
These two have split the previous four meetings, with Serena winning the most recent match in the 2018 US Open. Pliskova did beat Serena in the 2016 US Open and an exhibition one set match in 2015. All four matches between Pliskova and Serena have been decided in straight sets.
Pliskova is capable of winning this match, as she’s one of a few players who can hit with Serena, and she has the confidence of beating her on the big stage. This is a dangerous matchup for Serena when you factor in those two things. However, it’s important to note that Pliskova hasn’t been piling up the free points with her serve the way we're used to seeing, and that’s concerning. If Serena can get the ball in play and force rallies, she has a serious advantage and counters the one thing that gives Pliskova an edge. The bottom line is we just saw Serena put together a finals like performance and show why she’s the clear favorite to win the title. I’m not confident Pliskova can match that energy and do what it’s going to take to beat Serena in a major again. It's tough enough once, let alone twice.
I’ll side with Serena with rather high confidence.