Kristyna Pliskova extends her head-to-head to 2-0 over Svetlana Kuznetsova by virtue of a surprise quarterfinal three set victory in Lugano. The result wasn’t a shock in terms of ranking, as Pliskova is the higher ranked player. That said, Kuznetsova, despite not having played all season before Lugano looked strong again on her favourite surface.
Kristyna Pliskova Finding her Feet on Red Clay
Before this transition to red clay, Kristyna Pliskova hasn’t strung two victories together at WTA level since Luxembourg 2018. Even that was in the qualifying stages. It’s true what they say; red clay is a great leveller. The Czech world #101 is showing tiger-like ruthlessness. An attribute that if possessed more by her sister Karolina Pliskova then she would be at least a dual Slam champion by now, but that’s for another article. When Kuznetsova doggedly fought back from 4-2 down final set to take a 5-4 lead, there did not look much down for the world #101. It’s in the serving potency where Pliskova has upped her game. In her loss at Charleston she serve five aces, her average in Lugano is 9. She’ll need some cheap points against cay natural Iga Swiatek in the semis.
Here’s a run through of the two mouthwatering semis.
Iga Swiatek vs Kristyna Pliskova
The 17 year old Pole looks a natural on clay. Many are predicting that the first of no doubt many titles, could be claimed in Lugano. However, not many people, including this writer felt that Pliskova would beat Kuznetsova. Swiatek needs to bring her return A game to the table or Pliskova will nab too many cheap points on serve.
For Kristyna Pliskova, a solitary title in 2016 in Tashkent seems a little harsh on a player who has been ranked as high as 35 in 2017. She can surely smell title blood. Swiatek had to claw her way back from a set and a break down in the 2nd and 3rd sets of her quarterfinal against Vera Lapko. Whereas, Pliskova shrugged off a Kuznetsova comeback. It’s a close one, but Pliskova could be finding the ruthlessness not to let the Wimbledon Juniors Champion back into the match should she get ahead.
Prediction: Pliskova in three
Fiona Ferro vs Polona Hercog
22-year-old Belgian-born French player Fiona Ferro is yet to drop a set this tournament. Ferro would be another breakthrough WTA title winner. Her 28 year old Slovakian opponent Polona Hercog is the most decorated player left at Lugano in terms of titles won, having 2 in the ban. Ferro can keep that first title dream alive by booking a place in the final
Prediction: Ferro in two