Fixture: Karolina Pliskova vs Marketa Vondrousova
Date: 20 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: WTA Premier 5
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,771,082
Match timing: Not before 4 pm CEST, 7:30 pm IST
Karolina Pliskova vs Marketa Vondrousova preview
Defending champion Karolina Pliskova takes on 2019 French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova for a place in the final of the Italian Open on Sunday.
Pliskova came into Rome in some patchy form, having exited early from both the Western & Southern Open and the US Open. But so far in Rome, the story has been remarkably different.
The lanky Czech got past some potentially problematic opponents - Barbara Strycova, Anna Blinkova and Elise Mertens - in relatively comfortable fashion. She even bagelled the in-form Mertens in the third set on Saturday, laying down a marker for the rest of the weekend.
Pliskova's semifinal opponent is compatriot and Fed Cup teammate Marketa Vondrousova, who at 21 years of age has already proven herself as an accomplished claycourter.
The World No. 19 got off to a difficult start after the lockdown was lifted. Much like her counterpart, Vondrousova too bowed out early from Cincinnati and the US Open - on the back of an early exit from Palermo - before making the trip to Rome.
At the Italian Open, however, Vondrousova has looked much more like the player that made the semifinal of the French Open last year. She has reached the final four in Rome after an inspired 6-3 6-0 drubbing of fourth seed Elina Svitolina.
Karolina Pliskova vs Marketa Vondrousova head-to-head
The meeting in Rome is the second between Karolina Pliskova and Marketa Vondrousova on the WTA tour. Pliskova currently leads the head-to-head 1-0 over her younger compatriot.
The two players had met in the 2019 Miami Open quarterfinals, where Pliskova won 6-3 6-4.
Karolina Pliskova vs Marketa Vondrousova prediction
Given Karolina Pliskova's superior ranking and her record in Rome over the past few years, she will have the edge coming into this match. However, Marketa Vondrousova's performance in the tournament so far has shown that she has the game to cause problems for any opponent.
Vondrousova has a proven ability on clay, and has shown her prowess all week. Her keen eye to find tight angles coupled with her varied shot selection from the back of the court have the potential to hurt Pliskova's relentless attacking game.
Pliskova, however, has been supremely consistent with her groundstrokes the last few matches. The elder Czech can break open a rally with a single shot from the back of the court, and she hasn't been missing much this week.
Her serve has also been working well, which has helped her start a majority of the rallies on her terms. If Pliskova can keep the errors at bay and read Vondrousova's change-ups, she will likely have too much firepower for the 21-year-old.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to win in straight sets.