Victoria Azarenka vs. Karolina Pliskova
|Date & Time||Friday May 17, 2019, 8:30 AM (EDT)|
The Line: Pliskova +123 / Azarenka -137 -- Over/Under:
Victoria Azarenka and Karolina Pliskova meet in the quarterfinal of the 2019 tennis Italian Open.
Victoria Azarenka is coming off a straight sets win over Garbine Muguruza that took 14 games to decide. In the victory, Azarenka won 83 percent of her first serve points and 59 percent of her second serve points. Azarenka won 73 percent of her total service points and converted on two of her three break points. Azarenka only had to play a little over an hour du to the Spaniard retiring, so she’s playing well and fresher than most of the field who had to play two matches yesterday. Azarenka is getting better and better with her serve, so she’s quickly becoming the player she was before her pregnancy. Once the serve wrinkles are ironed out, Azarenka will once again be back in the top-10 rather quickly. Azarenka has a chance to win four matches in a tournament for the second time in her last five tries. Azarenka has won six of her last eight matches on clay court.
Karolina Pliskova is coming off a straight sets win over Sofia Kenin that took 17 games to decide. In the victory, Pliskova won 85 percent of her first serve points and 36 percent of her second serve points. Pliskova won 61 percent of her total service points and converted on five of her nine break points. Pliskova saved seven of her 11 break points and hit 12 aces in the victory that took just under an hour to complete. Pliskova hasn’t been getting the free points with her serve the way we’re used to seeing, so it was nice to see her return to double-digit aces. Of course, Pliskova is much together to beat when she’s got her serve dialed in the way she just did. Pliskova looks to win at least three matches for the third time in her last five tournaments. Pliskova has won three of her last four matches on clay court.
These two have played seven times and Azarenka has won four of those matches, including the most recent meeting this year in Stuttgart. Pliskova’s last win over Azarenka came in the 2018 Wimbledon. Azarenka has won two of the three matches against Pliskova on clay and four of the seven matches overall have gone the distance.
This is a match that could go either way, but I’m giving the slight edge to Azarenka and her improved form. Azarenka still has a ways to go with her serve and consistency, but her return has been on fire these past couple of weeks and that makes the world of difference against a player like Pliskova who hasn’t exactly been dropping bombs the way we’re used to seeing. This is a match Azarenka can probably sink her teeth into and get comfortable within the first few gams.
I like Azarenka to make the semifinals.