Fixture: (2) Karolina Pliskova vs Barbora Strycova
Date: 16 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: Second Round (Round of 32)
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: WTA Premier 5
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,771,082
Match timing: Not before 7 pm CEST, 10.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN
Karolina Pliskova vs Barbora Strycova preview
World No. 4 Karolina Pliskova will be looking to rebound from an early loss at the US Open as she begins her Italian Open title defence against Barbora Strycova on Wednesday.
Pliskova's season has gone somewhat downhill after she made a blazing start with a title at Brisbane. She has managed to reach the quarterfinals just once in her next five tournaments, which is disappointing considering her abilities.
Endowed with a free-flowing attacking game, the 28-year-old has long been expected to engrave her name on a Grand Slam trophy. But after falling in the third round at the Australian Open and the second round at the US Open in 2020, her quest for a maiden Major still continues.
World No. 37 Barbora Strycova is exactly the kind of opponent Pliskova would have hoped to face to get off to a strong start in Rome. Strycova has found way more success in doubles than singles of late, with all of her three titles this year being in the former discipline.
In singles, the 34-year-old's record for the year is a shabby 3-6. She hasn't been able to win more than a couple of matches in any tournament all year.
Although Strycova did beat Veronika Kudermetova handily by a score of 6-3, 6-3 in her first round in Rome, Pliskova will be a different challenge altogether.
Karolina Pliskova vs Barbora Strycova head-to-head
Karolina Pliskova has always held the upper hand in this all-Czech rivalry, as evidenced by her 4-1 lead in the head-to-head record.
The former World No. 1 began their rivalry with a comfortable 6-4, 6-2 win over Strycova at Dubai in 2015. Strycova did manage to use her finesse to turn the tables on the low-bouncing grasscourts of Birmingham the next year, but that remains her only win over her higher-ranked countrywoman.
Pliskova got the better of Strycova in each of their subsequent meetings - at Miami in 2017, and the Australian Open and Eastbourne in 2018.
Karolina Pliskova vs Barbora Strycova prediction
Their head-to-head record suggests that the former US Open runner-up is a bad match-up for Strycova. Moreover, the older Czech's serve-and-volley game won't be of much help on the high-bouncing clay of the Italian capital.
Pliskova is more than equipped to tackle Strycova's volleys, as she can handcuff any net-rusher with her accurate hitting from the baseline. Besides, she also recently beat Strycova in two claycourt exhibition matches, which should give her enough impetus to carry on in the same fashion.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to win in straight sets.