Fixture: (2) Karolina Pliskova vs Jelena Ostapenko
Date: 1 October 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 64)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: Approx. €38,000,000
Match timing: 11 am CEST, 2.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Also check out: The Complete French Open 2020 Schedule
Karolina Pliskova vs Jelena Ostapenko preview
Second seed Karolina Pliskova faces 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko on Thursday, in the second round of the 2020 French Open.
Pliskova had a tough outing in her opening match against Mayar Sherif. The Czech lost the first set in a tiebreak after wasting eight set points, before bouncing back to win in three.
The World No. 4 reached the semifinals in the 2017 edition of Roland Garros, but has struggled at the tournament in all other years. Pliskova does have a good record on clay overall though; she won the title in Rome last year and reached this year's final, before being forced to retire with a thigh injury.
That injury could be a niggling concern this fortnight, although it didn't seem to be affecting her in the first round.
Jelena Ostapenko, meanwhile, is fresh off her first match win at Roland Garros since 2017. The Latvian produced a stunning display in the first round, firing 46 winners in just 15 games to crush Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-1.
Before Tuesday, the mercurial Ostapenko had never won a main draw match at the French Open outside of 2017, when she went all the way and won her maiden Slam. If the 23-year-old were to repeat the feat this year, she would hold one of the weirdest statistics in tennis history.
By virtue of being unseeded, Ostapenko's draw is naturally difficult, and she faces a stern test in Pliskova.
Karolina Pliskova vs Jelena Ostapenko head-to-head
The head-to-head between Karolina Pliskova and Jelena Ostapenko currently stands at 3-2 in favor of the Czech, with all their previous meetings coming on hardcourts.
Ostapenko stood tall in their most recent meeting at Beijing 2019, winning a three-set thriller. Three out of the five matches between the pair have gone down to the wire in the deciding set.
Karolina Pliskova vs Jelena Ostapenko prediction
In her last match against Karolina Pliskova, Jelena Ostapenko famously made 25 double faults and still emerged as the victor. She did that primarily on the back of her powerful groundstrokes and strong return game; the Latvian won 48% of her return points in the match.
Ostapenko's big-hitting game works particularly well on clay, as the ball sits up in her strike zone and gives her time to find the sweet spot. The damp surface conditions this year should also aid her considerably.
Pliskova herself has an extremely aggressive playing style, based around her powerful serve. The Czech's penetrating groundstrokes can open up the court to set up easy winners, and also force opponents to commit errors by rushing them for time.
But as seen in their previous matches, Ostapenko seems to have an advantage over the Czech in the baseline rallies. Moreover, the Latvian is coming in on the back of rare all-round form; in the first round, she used her forceful groundstrokes in tandem with some accurate net play to win an impressive 14 out of 14 points at the net.
It is pertinent to note, however, that Brengle was feeding Ostapenko a lot of short balls, which allowed her to to tee off with ease. It remains to be seen whether the 23-year-old can play as authoritatively if she gets deeper replies from the opponent.
Nothing can be said for sure when it comes to Jelena Ostapenko. But if she manages to reproduce her first-round performance, Karolina Pliskova could be in a whole lot of trouble.
Prediction: Jelena Ostapenko to win in three sets.
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