Karolina Pliskova vs Naomi Osaka WTA Indian Wells tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Big-hitting Osaka stands between Pliskova and third straight Indian Wells semi-final

Leye Aduloju in WTA 14 Mar 2018
  • Karolina Pliskova vs Naomi Osaka is live from Indian Wells on Wednesday, 14 March from 7:00pm local time/ Thursday, 15 March from 3:00am DST
  • Pliskova won their only previous meeting in Toronto last year via an Osaka retirement
  • Watch and bet on tennis live at Unibet > live streaming > tennis
Karolina Pliskova. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Looking to get into the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open for the third straight year, Karolina Pliskova takes on Japanese youngster, Naomi Osaka on Wednesday night.

Karolina Pliskova vs Naomi Osaka WTA BNP Paribas Open tennis is live from Indian Wells on Wednesday, 14 March from 7:00pm local time/ Thursday, 15 March from 3:00am DST 
Watch and bet on tennis live at Unibet > live streaming > tennis

Pliskova is also attempting to reach her second semi-final of 2018, adding to her last-four run in Brisbane in the opening week of the season. While Pliskova has been a consistent performer all year, she has recently lacked that extra cutting edge required to go all the way in an extremely competitive WTA field. Of the current top-five, Pliskova is the only player yet to make a final this season. Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki and Elina Svitolina have all won titles in 2018, while Garbine Muguruza recently made the Doha final.

It does look like the Czech has been operating at the same level for almost a year now. Pliskova made her first big push in late 2016, when she won the Cincinnati crown, and reached the final of the US Open, and she stepped it up a notch at the start of 2017, winning titles in Brisbane, Doha and Eastbourne, and reaching No. 1 in the world, but she has not made a WTA final since winning that Eastbourne title, despite a host of quarter final and semi-final appearances.

Following her semi-final in Brisbane, Pliskova reached the quarter finals at the Australian Open, where she was completely taken apart by Simona Halep. She then lost to CiCi Bellis in the second round in Doha, before suffering another quarter final exit in Dubai, beaten by Angelique Kerber in another one-sided contest. 

Pliskova has not had the smoothest ride into the fourth round at Indian Wells- she opened her tournament with a 7-6 6-1 victory over Romanian, Irina Camila-Begu, before being dragged to three sets by the heavy-hitting Chinese, Shuai Zhang in the second round. The world number five then ran into the rising youngster, Amanda Anisimova, who was coming off superb wins over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Petra Kvitova.

The Czech needed just 27 minutes to take the opening set, and she seemed on course for a routine win when she broke midway through the second set, but her 16-year-old opponent hit back immediately before pushing the set into a tie break. Experience counted in the end as Pliskova dominated the breaker to dig out a 6-1 7-6 victory.

"I think my game, match from match, is improving here. I feel much better than in the first and also second round or second match, so just happy it's going a little bit more up," Pliskova assessed. 
"I played tough matches here, some tiebreaks, one three-setter yesterday. It always gives you some confidence when you go through those tough moments."

It could be another tough one for the Czech when she confronts fellow power-hitter, Naomi Osaka on Wednesday.


It’s been a breakthrough week for Osaka, who is into a Premier Mandatory quarter final for the first time in her career. The Japanese youngster remains largely inconsistent, but she is also one of the most talented young players on the tour, bound to get it right at some point. 

Naomi Osaka. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Osaka made her first real move on the tour in 2016, when she reached the third round in three of the four majors, contested her first WTA Tour final in Tokyo, and broke into the top-40 for the first time. However, she could not quite kick on in 2017, as she made just the two WTA quarter finals- Auckland and Hong Kong, and ended the year ranked 68th in the world. The Japanese has obviously cast the struggles of last season behind her; and has begun 2018 in fine fashion. Osaka lost her opening match of the season in Auckland, but she impressed with a fourth-round run at the Australian Open, where she took out Elena Vesnina and Ashleigh Barty in straight sets before falling to top-seed, Simona Halep. She reached her first quarter final of the season in Dubai, stopped by eventual champion Elina Svitolina, and has backed it up with a superb run to the last eight at Indian Wells.

The big-hitting Japanese outhit Maria Sharapova in straight-sets in the opening round, before taking down Agnieszka Radwanska and Sachia Vickery, also in straights. Osaka dropped her first set of the tournament against Maria Sakkari in the fourth round, but she responded superbly, powering through the deciding set to register a 6-1 5-7 6-1 victory.

She goes into Wednesday’s meeting with Pliskova with plenty of confidence, as she seeks the third top-ten win of her career. The other two came in 2017- against Angelique Kerber at the US Open, and Venus Williams in Hong Kong.

Pliskova and Osaka did not complete their only previous meeting in Toronto last year, with the Japanese retiring while trailing 1-0 in the final set, but while the contest lasted, she showed that she could match Pliskova’s power from the back of the court, taking the second set on a tie break.

The youngster has arguably been the more convincing player so far this week, and you must be playing really well to defeat players of the calibre of Sharapova and Radwanska in straight sets. Pliskova, on the other hand, has encountered some level of difficulty in each if her first three rounds, and while she found a way against Begu, Zhang and Anisimova, she may not be that fortunate against an on-fire Osaka on Wednesday.

As is so often the case between two big hitters; serving percentages will be key, as well as winners-to-unforced errors ratio. Whoever dominates these numbers should move into the Indian Wells semi-finals. I’m tempted to go for the underdog Osaka, but Pliskova does have the ability to turn it on on serve, and off the ground, and I’m backing the Czech to deliver a performance on Wednesday night.

Karolina Pliskova vs Naomi Osaka is live from Indian Wells on Wednesday, 14 March from 7:00pm local time/ Thursday, 15 March from 3:00am DST


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Karolina Pliskova vs Naomi Osaka WTA Indian Wells tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Big-hitting Osaka stands between Pliskova and third straight Indian Wells semi-final

Karolina Pliskova takes on Japan's Naomi Osaka in the quarter finals of the BNP Paribas Open. Will Pliskova reach a third straight Indian Wells semi-final? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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