2019 Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open, Quarter Final 3: Karolina Pliskova vs Belinda Bencic, Preview and Prediction
The Swiss star has been in terrific form in recent times. She defied all odds to win the Dubai Tennis Championships, and she has carried forward that form at the Indian Wells.
Bencic has not lost a single set in her three matches so far. After two facile wins against Alison van Uytvanck and Ekaterina Alexandrova, she produced her best tennis thus far in the pre-quarters against world number one and defending champion Naomi Osaka.
She thoroughly dominated the match against the Japanese star and gave away only four games in the match. She broke the big-serving Osaka five times and got broken only once. It is the Japanese who was supposed to dominate on her serve, and not Bencic who is not particularly known for her service game. But she played a very intelligent tactical game and won 82% of her first serve points.
Her return game too was brilliant and she won double the points on Osaka’s serve than the Japanese managed on hers. Her total dominance in the match can be seen from the fact that she won twenty-two points more than Osaka during the course of the match.
Her opponent in the quarter-final is the fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, another player with a big serve and ferocious forehands. But unlike Bencic, the Czech player has not looked all that convincing in her three matches thus far.
She began shakily against Misaki Doi in her first match by losing the first set in the tie break, before dominating the rest of the match. She had a straight sets win against Ysaline Bonaventure, but even then she was not on top of her game. She was broken twice in that match and could win only 44% of her second serve points.
Her problem with the second serve continued in the pre-quarters as well. She won a closely fought three-set match against twenty-first seed Anett Kontaveit, where her second serve win percentage was just 42%.
To get past a confident Bencic, she will need to improve her service game. She will have to either keep a high percentage of her first serves in or find a way of serving intelligently on the second serve.
On current form, it is Bencic who seems to have the edge in this match.
Prediction: Belinda Bencic to win in 3 Sets