Two time reigning champion Simona Halep will take on Karolina Pliskova in the WTA Madrid quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon, after she made light work of Karolina’s sister, Krystina, in Round 16 on Wednesday.
Halep, who has been in great form all season, opened her clay court campaign two weeks ago in Stuttgart where she lost in the quarterfinals against Vandeweghe. The Romanian seems to be much more focused and in better form this week in Madrid, which is not surprising given the fact that this is a big tournament. Halep has not lost a set so far and destroyed her opponents, losing a total of just 9 games (!!!) against Makarova, Mertens and Kristina Pliskova. After Wednesday`s results, Halep is now sure to maintain her World No.1 ranking for at least another week.
Karolina Pliskova is in good form after winning the Stuttgart title two weeks ago, and she is on the back of a solid 6-2 6-3 win over Sloane Stephens here in Madrid. However, she did show moments of weakness this week, particularly in the second round against Azarenka. Pliskova was under big pressure in that match, eventually escaping with a 6-2 1-6 7-5 win, but she was very close to losing it: winning less total points and saving 4 break points at 5-5 in the decider.Bet on Halep vs Pliskova and get a 100% (100 Eur) welcome bonus at Ohmbet now!
Halep leads the H2H 6-1 (1-0 on clay) and won the only meeting this year in two easy sets at the Australian Open. Pliskova`s only win came in Fed Cup, on indoor hard, back in 2016.
It is obvious that Halep has a serious matchup advantage here, Simona`s quick baseline defense creating big problems for Pliskova’s power game. This problem gets even bigger for Pliskova on clay, which is her worst surface and Halep’s best, the Romanian thriving on the red dirt.
Both players are in good form, but there`s no doubt that Halep has played a little better this week, demolishing opponents and playing arguably her best tennis. That`s not really a surprise considering how much she loves this tournament, having won it in both 2016 and 2017.
With Halep playing so well and also considering the H2H and the surface, Pliskova’s chances look rather slim here, and it`s hard to see any logic behind expecting or backing Karolina to win this match.
Expect Halep to frustrate Pliskova from the baseline as she usually does, particularly with the surface being red clay. Look for the Romanian to make damage with her defense and her smart agressiveness en route to another win against the Czech player.
My tip is Simona Halep to win and advance to a third straight semifinal in Madrid. Odds are currently dropping on the Romanian and that is only fair, as I really do not think she should have been priced as high as 1.50 here. As far as I`m concerned, investing 10 units on this bet makes plenty of sense, so that will be my stake. Prediction: Simona Halep – Karolina Pliskova 7-5 6-2.