WTA Dubai Tennis Championships 2019, Quarter Final 1: Karolina Pliskova vs Hsieh Su-wei | Preview and Prediction
The former world number one has been in scintillating form this season. She has already won a title at Brisbane International and reached the semi-final stage at the Australian Open, where she lost to the eventual champion Naomi Osaka.
At Dubai, she has not looked at her very best in the two matches she has played. But she has still managed to get it across two good players, Dominika Cibulkova and Alison Riske. She had lost a set to Cibulkova, and though she won in straight sets against the American, the match was as close as it could possibly get.
An indication of how close Pliskova’s match against Riske was could be gauged from the fact that not only did the two sets have to be decided through tie-breaks, each player had won an identical number of points, if we take out the points won in the tie-breaks.
In the match, Pliskova won six points more than Riske and that difference was solely owing to her better performance in the tie-breaks. It was her bigger serve that came to her rescue during crucial points, and she would need much of the same in her quarter final match.
Pliskova’s opponent in the quarter final match is the thirty-three-year-old Taiwanese Hsieh Su-wei. Though she is mostly known in the WTA circuit for her exploits in the doubles, she has been a former world number 23 in singles as well.
In the recent times, she has seen somewhat of a career resurgence in singles and has posed challenges to more established players and even caused some major upsets. At the Australian Open, she reached the third round where she lost to Naomi Osaka in three sets.
She has played a lot of tennis after the Australian Open, in both singles and doubles before coming to Dubai, in Thailand and Qatar. But where her younger opponents seem to be struggling with injuries and fitness issues, the Taiwanese veteran seems as fit as ever.
In this tournament too, she has looked really impressive. After two relatively straight forward wins in the first two rounds against Anastasija Sevastova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich, she caused a major upset by getting it past the fifth seed German, Angelique Kerber.
After losing a close first set, she came back strongly to win the second set. The third set was completely dominated by the Taiwanese as she bageled her much higher ranked opponent. Her form and confidence must have sent a warning signal to Pliskova.
With a very unorthodox play and a variety of slices, Hsieh poses a very different kind of challenge which may frustrate Pliskova into unforced errors. On current form, it is the underdog that may actually come out triumphant in this match.
Prediction: Hsieh Su-wei to win in 3 Sets