For the third time this year and for the sixth time in their career’s Angelique Kerber and Karolina Pliskova will battle for the second time in a final this year. Their previous meeting was in the final of Brimingham with Kerber winning their epic match against her Czech opponent. Pliskova’s win this year came in Sydney at the beginning of the year in the semi-finals winning 6-3 6-2 against the German so who knows what will happen this time round.
Every final Kerber has played this year she has won winning Premier events in Charleston (Keys), Stuttgart (Wozniacki) and Birmingham (Pliskova) this year where as Pliskova has had mixed fortunes in finals winning only one of her four finals in Prague but didn’t have to play a player ranked inside the top 50.
If their meeting in Birmingham a couple of months ago is anything to go by this is set for another brilliant encounter.
If you haven’t seen Pliskova play before then you really should, if you can’t watch the match then look on YouTube, I’ve said time again she makes tennis look easy from the back of the court. Watching her play is a delight, she produces brilliant effortless shots from the back of the court and has the all round game to be a great defender and counter puncher.
Pliskova feeds off short balls from her opponents which happen from pressure and depth from the Czech forcing a short ball from the opponent and pouncing on it with a fierce backhand shot which zips through the court! The two forehand winners which I picked out are the yellow lines which are service return winners so Kerber getting her first serve into play is essential!
Dealing with this pressure from Pliskova will be very tough but one player who has the skills to battle from the back of the court is Kerber who could give Pliskova the run around. Kerber’s defensive qualities are some of the best in tennis and is good at bring opponents to the net and the speed she shows to move up the court is fantastic and can turn defence into attack with one shot.
If there is one area where I would say is a weakness for Pliskova it is her net play and I would expect Kerber to bring her to the net and really mix things up.
I spoke about Kerber’s strengths in a piece I did the other day. The German is strong off the backhand and especially the forehand as the graphic below shows.
These are forehands and backhands from her win against Gavrilova earlier on in the week. The angles Kerber can produce never fail to amaze and if she can continue how she has been playing this week in the final I think she will win it.
Since the change of the reorganisation of the WTA events in 2009 now player has won four WTA Premier events in one year, Kerber is one win away from achieving that!