Indian Wells R4: (18) Karolina Pliskova vs (25) Johanna Konta
Two of the most effective serves on the WTA tour will go head-to-head on Tuesday when Karolina Pliskova and Johanna Konta meet in the fourth round at the BNP Paribas Open. Karolina Pliskova has won all 3 previous encounters between the pair and seems to be hitting her best form of the season thus far as she has steamrolled through her opening two matches of the event in Indian Wells. Konta has also been untroubled in her first 2 matches and will fancy her chances here.
Karolina Pliskova has dropped just 8 games on route to the fourth round. The Czech kick-started her Indian Wells campaign with a comfortable 6-2 6-4 win over Shelby Rogers before thumping Ana Ivanovic 6-2 6-0 in just 49 minutes. Ivanovic was seemingly struggling with a knee injury but Pliskova did well to remain composed and barely put a foot wrong. Pliskova’s win over Ivanovic could act as a confidence booster as the Czech aims to recapture her form of 2015.
Johanna Konta continues of impress in 2016. The British number 1 reached her first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open earlier this year and now has an opportunity to reach the quarter-final of a premier mandatory event for the first time in her career. Konta has also been untroubled on route to the fourth round in Indian Wells. Konta started the week with a commanding 6-4 6-0 win over Madison Brengle before easing past Denisa Allertova with a 6-4 6-1 victory. Konta will probably need to elevate her game to another level if she is to record her first career victory over Karolina Pliskova and advance further in the tournament.
Karolina Pliskova had a perfect 3-0 head-to-head record over Johanna Konta. Interestingly, the pair have never played on a hard court. The most recent clash between the pair took place on the grass in Birmingham last year, Pliskova came from a set down to record a 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory.
I believe Pliskova will once again get the better of Konta on this occasion. This is a rare match-up on the WTA tour where breaks of serve will not come easily. Pliskova’s serve is generally more reliable and has a heavier second serve. Pliskova also has slightly more firepower from the baseline and an ability to finish points off at the net. I think this is a good match-up for Pliskova.