Second seeded and defending champion Karolina Pliskova will be up against Belgian world number 20 Elise Mertens in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open on Saturday, September 19,. Get the live streaming options of this Karolina Pliskova v Elise Mertens match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Karolina Pliskova v Elise Mertens Head to Head
There has been one previous meeting between Pliskova and Mertens which had resulted in an easy win for the former. Pliskova had dropped just three games in a crushing victory over Mertens at the 2019 WTA Eastbourne competition.
Pliskova Slowly Getting Back to Her Best
A winner at the Italian Open last year, Pliskova kept her hopes alive of defending a title for the second time this year after having done the same by winning the Brisbane International earlier this year. And she did that with a one-sided 6-4, 6-3 win over Anna Blinkova in a match that lasted 78 minutes.
The match started with Blinkova getting an early break but that joy didn’t last too long as Pliskova broke back immediately to pull it back and the players then held serve through to 4-4. At the most crucial stage of the set though, Blinkova faltered, serving at 4-5, to help her opponent run away with the set.
Things became far easier for Pliskova in the second set as she broke Blinkova in the fourth and sixth game to race off to a 5-1 lead. And while Blinkova reduced the deficit by breaking back once, the Czech player wasted no time thereafter to complete a straight-set victory.
Earlier, she had sent out another serious opponent in the form Barbora Strycova in straight sets and while a sterner test awaits Pliskova in this match, any rustiness or form issues on display in the USA (during the Cincinnati Open and US Open) look to have evaporated.
Strike Three for Mertens
Another match, another straight-set win for Mertens. That’s her third in a row in this tournament and her last seven successive wins have all been without dropping a set – the only times she has dropped a set in this period, she has also lost the match.
Mertens came into the third round with routs of Hsieh Su-wei and Magda Linette, and was facing Montenegro’s top player Danka Kovinic. It had been a fairy-tale run for Kovinic but one that Mertens ended in two sets as we thought would be the case.
The Belgian world number 20, who had played in just one edition of the Italian Open before this and lost her only match, came through 6-4, 6-4 to add a few more ranking points to her tally.
Mertens had earlier reached the final of the Prague Open where she went down to Simona Halep but that by itself was a great improvement for someone who has traditionally preferred hard court surfaces – her best Grand Slam showings were at the Australian Open (semifinal in 2018) and US Open (quarterfinal in 2019 and 2020).
Having never made it past the second round at either the Madrid Open or the Italian Open, this represents her best showing so far at WTA Premier events. Pliskova would prove to be her biggest hurdle but Mertens has won matches against players like Naomi Osaka, Anglique Kerber, Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Johanna Konta in the past and would have the confidence to take on the second seed.
Pliskova v Mertens Prediction & Tip
This is a rather even battle with Pliskova a slight favourite at 8/11 but we will look at this being a better match for set or games – over and under.
Tip: Over 21.5 games in the match: 5/6 (bet365)