Karolina Pliskova vs Petra Kvitova WTA Madrid tennis preview, predictions and tips: Czech stars Pliskova and Kvitova each aiming for 10th straight win and Madrid final spot

Andrew Hendrie in WTA 11 May 2018
  • Karolina Pliskova vs Petra Kvitova is live from Madrid at 8.00pm local time on Friday (7.00pm BST)
  • Kvitova has won both their previous meetings, but they haven't played in over three years
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
Karolina Pliskova (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s an all-Czech battle for a spot in the Mutua Madrid Open final on Friday as Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova put their respective nine-match winning streaks on the line at the Caja Magica.

Watch and bet on Pliskova vs Kvitova live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify). Their semi-final clash begins at 8.00pm local time on Friday (7.00pm BST).

Czech powerhouses Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova have been lighting up the WTA Tour over the last couple of weeks - but only one can notch up win No. 10 on the bounce and advance into the Premier Mandatory Mutua Madrid Open final when the two Fed Cup teammates clash on Friday night in the Spanish capital. Both players captured titles in their last tournament before arriving in Madrid, while they’ve each dropped just the one set on the way to the semi-finals, with Pliskova overcoming Victoria Azarenka in three sets in the second round, while Kvitova fought back to edge Anett Kontaveit in the R16. It promises to be a spectacular contest as Pliskova and Kvitova take to court at 8.00pm local time on Friday (7.00pm BST).

Out of the four women left standing inside the Caja Magica this week, sixth seed Pliskova has arguably come through the toughest draw on the way to the semi-finals. Former Indian Wells champion Elena Vesnina was her first round opponent, but Pliskova wasn’t troubled at all during a 6-4 6-2 win, but the 26-year-old was forced to operate at the absolute peak of her powers as she ran into former World No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka in the second round. The two traded one-sided sets before going toe-to-toe in a stellar deciding set, which Pliskova ultimately edged to prevail 6-2 1-6 7-5. Next came reigning U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens - a player Pliskova had lost to in both of their previous meetings. But with her clay-court game at its peak and her confidence at an all-time sky-high, Pliskova raced through the match for the loss of just five games, but another big challenge was on the horizon.

Waiting in the quarter-finals was World No. 1 and two-time defending Mutua Madrid Open champion Simona Halep. Pliskova was a daunting 1-6 in her head-to-head with Halep coming into the blockbuster showdown, but an excellent display of controlled aggression and punishing serving basically took the Romanian out of the equation as Pliskova ended Halep’s 15-match winning streak in Madrid and extended her own streak of victories to nine. Making Pliskova’s run even more incredible is the fact that she had never won back-to-back matches in the Spanish capital before this week.

There’s absolutely no way Pliskova can be underestimated on clay after the last couple of weeks. After helping Czech Republic (teaming up with Kvitova) to a Fed Cup semi-final triumph over Germany, Pliskova surged to her first title of the season at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, taking out the likes of Kiki Bertens (another semi-finalist in Madrid), French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and an on-fire CoCo Vandeweghe to collect the Premier-level silverware. With her exploits in Madrid so far, Pliskova has now matched her best ever winning streak of nine, which came at the start of last season as she won the Brisbane International title and made the Australian Open quarter-finals.


That was the start of a remarkably consistent stretch of form for Pliskova as she also picked up titles in Doha and Eastbourne, along with reaching the semi-finals of Indian Wells, Miami and Roland Garros - results that ultimately propelled her to the No. 1 ranking. However, Pliskova seemingly didn’t deal well with claiming the No. 1 ranking, and she promptly lost in the second round of Wimbledon and didn’t make another final for the rest of 2017 - although she did reach the semi-finals of Cincinnati and the WTA Finals Singapore. Pliskova’s solid but unspectacular form continued into the first quarter of 2018 as she failed to beat a top 20 player before Stuttgart, but she’s well and truly back to her intimidating best in Madrid.

Petra Kvitova (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)
Meanwhile, Petra Kvitova has been equally as devastating in Madrid - and arguably, perhaps even more impressive considering she didn’t have any break whatsoever from winning the J&T Banka Prague Open literally less than a week ago. After conquering the likes of Natalia Vikhlyantseva, Katerina Siniakova, Zhang Shuai and Mihaela Buzarnescu to complete an emotional title triumph in her native Prague, Kvitova has less than 24 hours to recover before opening her Mutua Madrid Open campaign - a tournament which she’s won on two occasions, first taking home the title in 2011 with victories over No. 2 Vera Zvonareva, an unseeded Dominika Cibulkova, No. 6 Na Li and No. 4 Victoria Azarenka, while she also reigned supreme in 2015, beating Serena Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova back-to-back to clinch the silverware.

Kvitova was flawless in a dominant 6-1 6-2 opening round victory over Acapulco champion Lesia Tsurenko, but she found herself in a tense battle with Rio Olympics gold medalist Monica Puig in the second round. It wasn’t a pretty match by any means, with both players committing countless unforced errors in a nervous second set tiebreak, but Kvitova managed to compose herself and come away with a 6-3 7-6(8) triumph. Surely suffering from fatigue, Kvitova let slip of a 5-3 lead in the opening set of her R16 duel with Anett Kontaveit and ultimately lost it in a tiebreak, but somehow she found enough energy - both mentally and physically - to stage a great fightback and take the match by winning the next two sets 6-3 6-3. With an in-form Daria Kasatkina waiting in the quarter-finals, another lengthy battle was expected, but Kvitova didn’t give the Russian a look-in, blasting 26 incredible winners to just 18 unforced errors as she trounced the 14th seed by a 6-4 6-0 scoreline.

Back inside the top 10 and up to No. 3 in the live WTA Race to Singapore, Kvitova - unlike Pliskova - was already in spectacular form throughout 2018 before transitioning to European clay, compiling a 14-match winning streak as she won back-to-back WTA titles in St. Petersburg and Doha, and after another disappointing Sunshine Swing in Indian Wells and Miami, the two-time Wimbledon champion is once again firing in Madrid as she looks to complete a hat-trick of titles in the Spanish capital.

Surprisingly, Pliskova and Kvitova haven’t played in over three years, with their last clash coming in the 2015 Apia International final in Sydney, which Kvitova won 7-6(5) 7-6(6). Kvitova won their only other previous clash in three sets in the R16 of Wuhan in 2014, but it’s safe to say those two hardcourt encounters over three years ago won’t have much bearing on the result of this semi-final in Madrid. I keep waiting for Kvitova to hit a wall, but the further she advances, the stronger she looks. Kvitova also has past success in Madrid to draw upon and knows what it takes to win the title here. On the other hand, Pliskova has been so ruthless and intimidating with her victories this week, it’s almost impossible to tip against her. But it’s also insanely difficult to go against Kvitova. All I can say is that both bring their best form to this semi-final, we will be treated to one hell of a contest. I’m going to lean with Pliskova because I think she’s played the cleaner and more consistent tennis over a sustained period this week, but this really could go either way.



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Karolina Pliskova vs Petra Kvitova WTA Madrid tennis preview, predictions and tips: Czech stars Pliskova and Kvitova each aiming for 10th straight win and Madrid final spot

It’s an all-Czech battle for a spot in the Mutua Madrid Open final on Friday as Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova put their respective nine-match winning streaks on the line at the Caja Magica.

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