Maria Sharapova vs Karolina Pliskova Tennis Prediction
Maria Sharapova gets a straight-set win (7-5 6-4) over #50 Donna Vekic to move her 14th French Open campaign into the third round. This comes after the Russian had a first-round scare against #133 Hogenkamp, where she trailed the decider by 0-3.
The win over Vekic is Sharapova’s tenth victory over top 50 players this season, seven of which have come on clay, en route to Rome semifinal (d. Barty, Cibulkova, Gavrilova and Ostapenko) and Madrid quarterfinal (d. Buzarnescu, Begu, and Mladenovic).
Sharapova is a two-time champion of the French Open, with an 11-1 record in its third round matches (l. Henin in 2010) and 55-11 overall. She is entering this match with a 1-2 record against top 10 players in 2018 (l. Halep at Rome and Garcia at Stuttgart).
Karolina Pliskova dropped a set to compatriot and former finalist Lucie Safarova in the second round but recovered to see herself through to the next round. The sixth seed hit 33 winners in the one hour and 44 minutes match, 13 of which were aces.
Former US Open runner-up Pliskova is defending the semifinal points this fortnight, which she earned last year by defeating Garcia and Witthoeft en route. Prior to that, she had never gone beyond the second round here in five main draw appearances.
Pliskova arrived at Paris after winning her biggest clay title at Stuttgart and posting a semifinal at Madrid, defeating three top 10 opponents in both these runs. She has won 12 matches on the dirt in 2018, the most in a season and three more than all of 2017.
Sharapova defeated Pliskova in the Fed Cup 2015 final, which was held in the indoor-hard court of O2 Arena, Prague (Czechs eventually won that final). This is the fortnight’s first clash between two former world #1’s, where both players have equal chances of surviving the other.
Tennis Prediction: Maria Sharapova