World number three Karolina Pliskova will face off against Russia’s Anna Blinkova in the third round of the 2020 Italian Open on Friday, September 18. The match has been scheduled for 11 am local time (10 am BST). Get the live streaming options of this Karolina Pliskova v Anna Blinkova match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Karolina Pliskova v Anna Blinkova Head to Head
Pliskova and Blinkova have gone toe to toe once before this in a competitive match and that came at the 2017 Australian Open. Pliskova had won that second round match in straight sets.
Strycova Win Would Have Eased Pliskova Nerves
Defending champion Karolina Pliskova had a first round bye but given how her form has been all over the place in recent times, she would have been pleased with her second round win over Barbora Strycova. Especially the manner in which it came.
Needing just 75 minutes on court, Pliskova used her forehand rather effectively in hammering most of her 26 winners, aiding her to break her opponent on four occasions in the match. She won 6-3, 6-3 and later said the court was faster than usual because of the postponed schedule and that might work in her favour in the latter part of the competition.
Pliskova will need every bit of the advantage after struggling to sew together wins in recent times. A first round exit at Cincinnati Open and a second round defeat at the US Open would have hurt her rankings badly in another year but because of the changed ranking rules for this season, it’s not been as bad.
And with a 65th-ranked qualifier up next for her, Pliskova would believe she can roll into the quarterfinals with as much ease as she did here.
Blinkova Wins Battle of Qualifiers
Russian qualifier Blinkova is coming off back to back wins in the competition following a victory in the only round of qualification. She started off with a shock defeat of Jil Teichmann in the opening round and that seemed to have given her the confidence in her match against Spain’s 22-year-old qualifier Aliona Bolsova.
Because after she lost the first set to the Spaniard, Blinkova rallied back to level the match by winning the second 6-1, and then in the third looked to have pocketed the match when she got an early break of serve. Bolsova broke back, however, and then levelled things off at 4-4 after which they held serves to take the match into a tie-breaker.
In the tie-breaker, the two players traded a mini-break to leave Blinkova serving at 3-4 but from there on, she won four points in a row to seal off the match.
With Blinkova having never played in the Italian Open before this, a third round appearance is already her best showing ever at a WTA Premier competition and it levels her performance at the 2019 French Open. Tough to see her go too much further than this but could still prove to be a test for Pliskova.
Pliskova v Blinkova Prediction & Tip
An easy win looks likely according to the odds on offer with Pliskova starting out at 1/5 but we believe it might not be that straightforward. Blinkova’s fighting abilities will see her push Pliskova for a while.
Tip: Over 19.5 games in the match: 5/6 (bet365)