World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova will be looking to kick off the remainder of her 2020 season with a win against Veronika Kudermetova in the second round of the Western and Southern Open on Sunday. After the withdrawal of Ash Barty and Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova comes into the tournament as the top seed.
The Czech player had got off to a rocky start in 2020, failing to make it past the third round at the Australian Open, Doha or Dubai. Since the lockdown, Karolina Pliskova has been active in her home country where she competed in the 'Livescore Cup' and the Czech Elite Cup, winning five out of seven matches.
Since the resumption of the tour, Karolina Pliskova has only made one appearance - in a doubles match on clay at the Prague Open. She won that contest, before withdrawing from the next round.
Karolina Pliskova's opponent, World No. 41 Veronika Kudermetova, has had an underwhelming start to the season as well. The Kazan-based player exited early in Melbourne, Doha and Dubai.
She did feature in the singles draw at the Prague Open after the easing of lockdown restrictions, but lost to Eugenie Bouchard in the first round.
Kudermetova does, however, come into the second round match on the back of an impressive win against Ajla Tomljanovic yesterday.
Karolina Pliskova vs Veronika Kudermetova head-to-head
The meeting between the two players at the Western & Southern Open on Sunday is just their second on the tour so far. Karolina Pliskova leads the head-to-head against Veronika Kudermetova 1-0.
Their only match on tour came in the round of 16 at the Stuttgart Open back in 2018. The Czech player was in fine form that day and won the match in straight sets 7-6 6-3, not losing serve even once.
Karolina Pliskova vs Veronika Kudermetova prediction
Given their rankings and history on the women's tour, it would be easy to call Pliskova the favorite for this match. However, both players have been in similar form in 2020, and Kudermetova has already played a match in New York.
Pliskova will approach the game in her trademark all-or-nothing style, and look to get into full flow ahead of the US Open. Kudermetova on her part will have to rise to the occasion and return serve consistently if she wants to cause Pliskova some problems.
Although she showed positive signs against Tomljanovic, Kudermetova's recent form has been erratic. And when pitted against one of the best servers on tour, she would have her task cut out.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to win in straight sets.
Tournament: Western & Southern Open 2020
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA
Category: WTA Premier 5
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $1,950,079
Match timing: 4.15 pm EDT, 1.45 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPNPublished 23 Aug 2020, 16:12 IST