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Miami Open 2019, Final: Karolina Pliskova vs Ashleigh Barty, Preview and Prediction

ANALYST
Preview
30 Mar 2019, 13:54 IST

Pliskova and Barty had last met at 2018 US Open - Day 7
Pliskova and Barty had last met at 2018 US Open - Day 7

Karolina Pliskova takes on Ashleigh Barty in the final of 2019 Miami Open, for a first-ever Premier Mandatory trophy for either player.

Former world number one and 2016 US Open runner up Karolina Pliskova may be the more established player, but for all her achievements, she is yet to win a premier mandatory trophy. After a morale-boosting win over Simona Halep in the semi-final, she should be seen as the favorite to lift the trophy here.

However, her head to head record against the Australian is even-steven. They have played against each other four times, twice each on hard court and on grass. The two have won one game each on each surface, the last of which was at last year’s US Open, which Pliskova won.

Pliskova’s run to the final has not been a smooth one. She had to go through two three-set matches, which was surprising considering that she did not have to face a single seeded player until she ran into Halep in the semis. But she assuaged any lingering concerns about her form through a commanding performance against the Romanian.

The match against Halep was a match of two halves. In the first half, it was Halep who dictated the game. In fact, it was Halep who was at point serving for the first set at 5-3. But Pliskova changed the temp of the match and took her game to another level, reminiscent of her quarter-final clash against Serena Williams in the Australian Open earlier this year.

Miami Open 2019 - Day 11
Miami Open 2019 - Day 11

She won nine straight games to seal the match. If Pliskova brings that sort of game to the final, then Barty has little chance of surviving the onslaught.

But the Australian is a tricky opponent. She may not have the big serve or heavy groundstrokes of her Czech opponent, but she has her own array of tricks up her sleeves – the delectable varieties of slices on both sides, drop shots with pinpoint accuracy, a good net game. To top it all, she is a terrific reader of the game.

As she has done in the tournament so far, she has it in her to use all her tricks and disrupt the rhythm of her opponent. When on fire, Pliskova is a treat to watch. But her shots are usually hit hard and flat, with little margin for error.

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Sometimes, under pressure, Pliskova is prone to committing a lot of unforced errors, and Barty would do everything in her power to disrupt Plisokva’s rhythm and put her under some sort of pressure.

Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to win in 3 Sets

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