Fixture: (6) Karolina Pliskova vs Coco Gauff
Date: 30 April 2021
Tournament: Mutua Madrid Open 2021
Round: First round (Round of 64)
Venue: Madrid, Spain
Category: WTA 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €2,549,105
Match timing: Approx. 5 pm local time, 8.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Karolina Pliskova vs Coco Gauff preview
Karolina Pliskova comes into the Madrid Open on the back of a disappointing start to the 2021 season. She has failed to make it past the quarterfinals at any event she has played so far, and has fallen to ninth in the world rankings.
Pliskova began her clay season in Stuttgart last week, where she squandered a set and a break lead in the quarterfinals against eventual champion Ashleigh Barty. The 29-year-old has now been handed a particularly tricky first-round encounter in Madrid, against American teenager Coco Gauff.
Gauff has seen a steady rise in her ranking since breaking through on the WTA tour a couple of years ago. The American has had a solid start to her 2021 season too, which includes a semifinal run in Adelaide and a quarterfinal run in Dubai.
Karolina Pliskova vs Coco Gauff head-to-head
The first round encounter in Madrid is the first match between Karolina Pliskova and Coco Gauff, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Karolina Pliskova vs Coco Gauff prediction
Karolina Pliskova is the favorite on paper for her first-round match in Madrid. However, Coco Gauff could well prove to be a nightmare opponent for the former world No. 1 this early in the tournament.
While Gauff may be a relative newcomer to the upper echelons of women's tennis, she has done plenty of fine-tuning to her game over the past year. In contrast, Pliskova is extremely short on confidence right now, and is desperately looking for some form and match sharpness.
Pliskova is at her best when she is blasting aces and using her big groundstrokes to dominate the exchanges. But the Czech's accuracy has gone for a toss in recent times, and against a gutsy opponent like Gauff - who will latch on to every opportunity - she can't afford any slip-ups.
The encounter promises to be an interesting one, as both players have a point to prove. But Gauff's superior movement and aggression, coupled with Pliskova's erratic play over the past few tournaments, might give the American a slight edge.
Prediction: Coco Gauff to win in three sets.