The Czech player has had a terrific start to the 2019 season. She began the year by winning the Brisbane International tournament, where she defeated Lesia Tsurenko in three sets in the final. Though the former world number one failed to win the Australian Open, she looked quite impressive during her semi-final run there.
Especially impressive was her astounding come-from-behind win over Serena Williams in the quarter final. After withdrawing from the Qatar Open due to illness, she did not seem to be at her best in her first match at the Dubai Open, but did just enough to get the better of the diminutive Dominika Cibulkova in three sets.
She served especially well against the Slovak. She kept 71% of her first serves in, of which she won a whopping 83% points. But she did look a bit sluggish in her court coverage, and it is to be seen whether she is back to her best in her next match.
The opponent in her round 16 match is the unseeded American Alison Riske, who too is having quite a good season so far. She began the season by reaching the final of the Shenzhen Open, where she lost to the top seed Sabalenka in three tight sets.
Though she lost in the first round of the Australian Open, she did well to qualify for the Qatar Open. She reached the second round there, where she lost to Julia Gorges in three sets. But she has avenged that loss by getting it past the thirteenth seeded German in the first round at Dubai Open.
Though Riske defeated Gorges in straight sets, she by no means produced her best tennis in that match. She especially had a poor serving day, but fortunately for her, Gorges had one of her worst serving days as well, where she could land only a meager 46% of her first serves in.
But in her second round match against Alize Cornet, Riske enjoyed a much better day in office. She served and returned well, and broke the French player four times, without being broken even once. If she reproduces the same level against Pliskova, she certainly has a chance to progress further.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to win in 3 Sets
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