Rabat champion Maria Sakkari will play fourth seed Karolina Pliskova in the second semifinal at the Italian Open. The match will take place on Saturday, May 18 at 5 pm local (4 pm BST). Get Maria Sakkari v Karolina Pliskova live streaming options, with preview and predictions here.
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Maria Sakkari v Karolina Pliskova Head to Head
Sakkari and Pliskova have met once before, and incidentally it was at last year’s Italian Open. The Greek won in controversial circumstances.
Sakkari Enjoying Her Career-Best Season On Tour
Maria Sakkari is in sizzling, hot form right now. Following her win over Kristina Mladenovic in an all-unseeded quarterfinal match, she extended her clay record for the year to 12-3. Only Kiki Bertens has as many wins as the young Greek on clay in 2019.
The World No.39 from Greece won her maiden WTA tour title in Rabat a few weeks ago with a remarkable comeback win over Johanna Konta in the final after trailing 2-6 2-4, before triumphing 2-6 6-4 6-2. Her title-winning run included victories over defending champion Elise Mertens and eighth seed Alison Van Uytvanck.
Sakkari felt the effects of mileage as she lost to Suarrez Navarro in Madrid less than 24 hours after winning in Morocco. That defeat was a blessing in disguise as she had plenty of time to prepare for Rome.
She had to go through the qualifiers and then knocked out Pavlyuchenkova, Kontaveit and Kvitova. The 23-year-old was a victim on Manic Thursday having had to play two matches during the day, but surprisingly won both of them.
Pliskova Looks To Avenge Last Year’s Loss
Karolina Pliskova will have plenty of fresh memories from the last time she faced Maria Sakkari in Rome last year. The Czech felt she was a victim of poor umpiring and lost vital points as result of line calls which proved decisive in the end. Pliskova reacted by hitting the Umpire’s chair repeatedly before leaving the court.
The good news for the No.4 seed is that she will have a chance to avenge that defeat. However, most importantly, she will seek to reach her first final at the Foro Italico for the first time. Her quarterfinal victory over Victoria Azarenka in a battle of former World No.1’s, was her 500th career win on tour.
Pliskova was one of the lucky players who did not have to play two matches on Thursday since she had won her second round match on Tuesday. This is her fourth semifinal of 2019 and her first in Rome.
Sakkari v Pliskova Predictions & Tips
Sakkari is a massive underdog here and you almost feel she will be pleased with her exploits this week regardless of the result. One might try a stake a claim that Sakkari is slightly the more accomplished player on clay based on current form, but Pliskova is naturally adaptable to this surface.
The Czech produced some strong results on the dirt in the last couple of years notably reaching the semifinal at the French Open in 2017. If Pliskova maintains her good serving with powerful hitting from the baseline, she will have enough to dispatch a tired Sakkari.
Tip: Pliskova to win in three sets: 3/1 (888Sport)