World number 10 Karolina Pliskova will take on American and 59th-ranked Sloane Stephens in the second round of the 2021 French Open on Thursday, June 3. Get the live streaming options of this Karolina Pliskova v Sloane Stephens match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Karolina Pliskova v Sloane Stephens Head to Head
Four previous matches between these two players have resulted in three wins for Stephens but the caveat here is they last played in 2018. Pliskova’s only victory came on the clay court of Madrid in 2018.
Pliskova Builds On Her Rome Show
Form hadn’t been on her side all season, so when Pliskova made it all the way to the final of the Italian Open last month, it would have come as a huge relief for the former world number one.
That she was double-bagelled by Iga Swiatek in the title-decider might have taken some of the sheen off Pliskova’s run to the final but she looked to have bounced back well in her opener here.
Taking on Donna Vekic, who incidentally was returning from a surgery, Pliskova took only an hour and 37 minutes to carve out a 7-5, 6-4 victory over the Croat. She faced four break-points and while she was broken once, even that came early in the opening set following which it was one-way traffic in her favour.
In both sets, Pliskova’s ability to up the ante and pile on the pressure as Vekic served to try and push the set into a tie-breaker saw her through.
Can she now continue that solid run and usurp a player who has been out of form for a while but showing some signs of resurgence?
Stephens Takes the Long Path to Second Round
Stephens was up against a player who was playing her first match February 2020 and since having fought off cancer. And yet, she was a set and a break down to Carla Suarez Navarro before having to turn things around clinch a place in round two.
The American, who began the year with just one win from six hard-court matches, has shown a drastic improvement on clay with a quarterfinal at Charleston and semifinal in Parma but all of that seemed to have gone to waste when she lost five successive games to lose the first set 6-3.
She broke early again, lost her serve and then was down 4-5 with Navarro serving for the match before Stephens turned the match around.
Breaking the Spaniard and pushing the set into a tie-breaker, Stephens took it 7-4, before shading a set of breaks in the third to seal the encounter.
Stephens will need to do a lot better than was on show – a whopping 54 unforced errors to boot – if she wants to give Pliskova some sort of a contest.
Pliskova v Stephens Prediction and Tip
At 2/5, Pliskova looks good odds to get past Stephens given what has all transpired for both recently. Going for a straight-set win for Pliskova here.