Naomi Osaka vs. Karolina Pliskova
|Date & Time||Thursday January 24, 2019, 12:30 AM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova meet in the semifinals of the 2019 tennis Australian Open.
Naomi Osaka is coming off a straight sets win over Elina Svitolina that took 17 games to decide. In the victory, Osaka won 64 percent of her first serve points and 52 percent of her second serve points. Osaka won 59 percent of her total service points and produced five breaks on 13 break points. Osaka has won 10 of her 12 sets this tournament and has produced a combined 82 winners in her last two matches. As long as Osaka keeps her unforced errors down, she’s capable of beating anybody on any surface due to her raw power and ability to use the whole court from any angle. Osaka hopes to make her second career grand slam final appearance and back-to-back grand slam final appearances overall. A win here would also give Osaka her fifth career final appearance. Osaka has won 11 of her last 13 matches on hard court.
Karolina Pliskova is coming off a three sets win over Serena Williams that took 32 games to decide. In the victory, Pliskova won 68 percent of her first serve points and 38 percent of her second serve points. Pliskova won 61 percent of her total service points and produced five breaks on 11 break points. Pliskova was down for the count in the match until Serena turned her ankle, and she won the last six games. Give credit to Pliskova for finding a way to push through the match, and she’s now won each of her last six matches that have gone the distance. As long as Pliskova limits her unforced errors, she gives herself a chance to win this title. Pliskova hopes to make her second career grand slam final and first since the 2016 US Open. Pliskova is 1-1 in career grand slam semifinal matches. Pliskova has won 11 of her last 13 matches on hard court.
These two have played three times and Pliskova has won two of the matches. The most recent meeting was in Tokyo of 2018, a match Pliskova won in straight sets. Osaka’s only win over Pliskova came in the 2018 Indian Wells Masters.
If we’re being honest with one another, Pliskova isn’t in this match if Serena doesn’t roll her ankle and get thrown completely off her game. You can’t name the last time you saw Serena blow a 5-1 set lead, especially in a grand slam. No point in crying over split milk now. Regardless, I was going to side with Osaka to win this match no matter who came out on the other side. Osaka has been the more consistent player throughout the tournament and is capable of reaching another gear with her serve. While both have some of the best power in the game, Osaka is the better mover and can spray winners the way the lengthier Pliskova can’t. It's Osaka's your coverage that gives her the edge in this match, even if the small h2h sample size doesn't suggest it.
Osaka makes it back-to-back grand slam final appearances.