In an all-Czech battle, Karolina Pliskova and Karolina Muchova will face off in the third round of the 2021 Australian Open on Saturday, February 13, with the match likely to begin at around 11 am local time (12 noon BST or 7 pm Eastern Time previous day). Get the live streaming options of this Karolina Pliskova v Karolina Muchova match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Karolina Pliskova v Karolina Muchova Head to Head
These two Karolinas, ranked sixth and 27th respectively, have faced off twice on the circuit before this. Pliskova won at the 2019 Australian Open but Muchova had her revenge in a three-set thriller at Wimbledon that very year, winning it 13-11 in the final set.
They had once earlier featured in a match in the 2017 Czech league as well, with Pliskova coming away a winner.
Interestingly, these two have been practice partners at times over the past 12 months and Pliskova admitted they know each other rather well, making it a very open encounter.
Pliskova Collects Collins Scalp
While she was a favourite on paper, Pliskova wasn’t in the greatest form going up against American Danielle Collins in their second round match and some of us, admittedly, had wondered out aloud if there was an upset on the cards. As it turned out, for the first set and some part, the match looked to be a scratchy affair, with both players struggling with their serves.
However, once Pliskova took control from the third game of the second set, there was no looking back and she claimed a 7-5, 6-2 win in 87 minutes to march into the third round.
Pliskova’s serve, which is one of her most powerful weapons saw her win 70% of the first serve points in the first set before improving it to 77% in the second. Her 23 winners to 18 unforced errors also helped as opponent struggled to get into any kind of rhythm with her only 26 errors.
Speaking of Pliskova’s form, there have been question-marks raised about it given she is a former world number one but never won a Grand Slam title. In 2020, her performance at majors left lot to desire too with a third round defeat at the Australian Open and back to back second round losses at the US Open and French Open too.
Can she push on this time around?
Muchova Continues 2021 Streak
While she has had a couple of withdrawals over the early part of 2021 already, Muchova is also probably one of the very few on tour, to have won five matches this season without losing any.
And her fifth win came against Germany’s Mona Barthel, defeating the once-23-ranked player 6-4, 6-1 to make the third round. This continues her ever improving run at the Australian Open, having gotten ousted in the first round here in 2019 and then making the second round last year.
Muchova, who had earlier registered a straight-set win over Jelena Ostapenko in the first round, had also also won a match at the Abu Dhabi Open and a couple of rounds in the Melbourne tune-up tournament before this. Both times, however, she opted to retire from the tournament following those wins.
Can she trouble her practice partner here?
Pliskova v Muchova Prediction and Tip
Pliskova starts 4/5 to win this while Muchova is 6/5 to cause a small upset. This could be anybody’s game by the looks of things but if Pliskova can get her serve going from the very beginning, she would be hard to beat. Expecting a tussle here, which could spill over to the third set.
Tip: Over 20.5 games in the match: 5/6 (bet365)