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TTI Game + Watch: Ka. Pliskova (17) vs. Muguruza – LIVE

The WTA Tour has arrived in Dubai for its first Premier 5 of the year. In the top half, the two biggest names prevailed in Halep and Wozniacki – in the bottom half, however, two of the most rapidly rising young women take center stage. Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza have only met once before – and that was in the first round of the 2013 French Open, where the Spaniard won in three hard-fought sets. On her way to the semifinals, the Czech has taken out compatriots Barbora Zahlalova Strycova and Lucie Safarova, along with No. 4 seed Ana Ivanovic, whereas Muguruza upset (on paper at least) Jelena Jankovic, Agnieszka Radwanska and Carla Suarez Navarro. 

Continue to refresh this page for game-by-game analysis of Ka. Pliskova (17)/Muguruza

What a wild, entertaining match that was. Some post match tweets to sum up the action:

Pliskova def. Muguruza: 6-4 5-7 7-5

Within a heartbeat Pliskova goes down 0-40 but Pliskova somehow manages to saves all three break points (with a moonball of all shots). After a couple of close challenges on either side Pliskova is able to convert her second match point with a service winner and move into the Finals of Dubai.

Pliskova *6-5 Muguruza

At terribly loose service game from Muguruza. A double fault coupled with unforced errors and after both women held their serves admirably in this set, the Spaniard gets broken to 0. All focus went out of the window here. Pliskova to serve for the match.

Pliskova 5-5* Muguruza

As if on command, Pliskova fires first serves left, right and centre and proceeds to hold to 15. This is going down to the wire.

Pliskova *4-5 Muguruza

The Spanish #2 holds without much trouble and puts the pressure right back on Pliskova. The Czech will now serve to stay in the match. Her first serve has come and gone in patches today and she’d do well to find it in the next game or else this could be over quickly.

Pliskova 4-4* Muguruza

Muguruza deploys all her skill again, similar to the business end of the second set but Pliskova manages to get back to 30-30 after a strong first serve and winning a gruelling rally. The Spaniard earns herself another break chance with a beautiful backhand down the line. But the 21 year old nets a backhand afterwards and then nets a forehand on a subsequent breakpoint. Muguruza seesaws back and forth between brilliant winner and unforced error now but the Czech is able to weather her opponent’s onslaught and holds serve.

If you wonder why Lahyani’s overrules have been so on point bar the very first one…

Pliskova *3-4 Muguruza

Pliskova races out to a 0-30 lead but after 2 good serves and an error, Muguruza goes up 40-30 and promptly holds. The Czech continues to draw more blood in her opponents service games but she hasn’t been able to draw dividends on the scoreboard yet.

Pliskova 3-3* Muguruza

Brutal hitting from both women now with some thumping forehands from Pliskova. The Czech holds to level the score. The question is who is going to draw first blood – in this set the world #18 has had a few more break chances up until now.

Pliskova *2-3 Muguruza

Double/ Foot Fault. Double Fault. Ace. Service Winner. Double Fault. But Pliskova can’t take advantage of a second serve from Muguruza. Despite some trouble, the Spaniard hangs on to her service game.

Pliskova 2-2* Muguruza

Both becoming much more [Pam Shriver]emotional and demonstrative[/Pam Shriver] but the quality of play has increased again. Pliskova’s first serve is a little more stable again and as a result she manages to get through her serve much better.

Pliskova *1-2 Muguruza

Muguruza with an easy hold here, Pliskova struggling to point returns back into play probably. The question is whether the amount of matches the Czech has played over the course of the past few weeks is going to catch up with her at some point. Muguruza has also decided to back off a little on the receiving end and it has paid off quite well.

Pliskova 1-1* Muguruza

After a brainless first point from Pliskova, the 22 year old manages to focus again and ends up holding fairly easily. Important for the Czech to hold easily here after the last few games.

Pliskova *0-1 Muguruza

Of course. Pliskova fires another 2 winners to get an early break chance in the third set but the Czech hits three errors in a row and smack her racquet as Muguruza holds. A rare sight.

SET TWO

Pliskova 5-7 Muguruza

The Czech begins with a double fault and an unforced error, giving Muguruza a very clear look at a third set. Pliskova’s first serve is notably absent in this phase and the Spaniard peppers her opponents 2nd serves to gain 2 set points. She is unable to convert the first but Pliskova gifts her opponent the next point as she throws in a double fault at the worst of times. Muguruza has been the more aggressive player in the second set and was close to breaking Pliskova in several service games. We’re going three!

Pliskova *5-6 Muguruza

Pliskova took the opening point with a winner which saw Muguruza throw a little fit but the Spaniard quickly regained her composure and took the subsequent points to the force the Czech to serve to stay in the set once again.

Pliskova 5-5* Muguruza

Muguruza gets another break point which is set point as she passes Pliskova in the mid-forecourt. The Czech, however, saves setpoint as she hits and thunderous forehand crosscourt winner and follows it up with an ace. Despite another return winner from the Spaniard, Pliskova manages to hang on and levels the score.

Pliskova *4-5 Muguruza

Muguruza with an easy hold to love. Quality of the match dipping a little as we head towards the business end of the set. Pressure now on Pliskova, serving to stay in the set. Unsurprisingly the Czech has hit 90% of her second serves to the Spaniard’s backhand.

Pliskova 4-4* Muguruza

Muguruza is trying to attack the Pliskova serve come hell or high water now but with mixed results. Return winners and return errors go hand in hand in this game but Muguruza misses a few too many to get as close to a break during the Czech’s last service game.

Pliskova *3-4 Muguruza

Pliskova with a beautiful forehand inside out to go up 0-30 but two unforced errors from the big hitting Czech level the score back to 30-30. Muguruza appears to be the steadier of the two at the moment and after another batch of errors from the world #18, the Spaniard holds. Pliskova might rue her loose errors her at some point down the line.

Pliskova 3-3* Muguruza

After a stretch of easy holds, Muguruza is starting to apply some more pressure on the Pliskova serve. The Spaniard is starting to construct points much better and gets her first and second break point of the set but the Czech negates both with aces. On the third break point, the Muguruza misses a second serve backhand return. Just when I said Pliskova’s serve had picked up pace she’s starting to become erratic herself, throwing in multiple double faults but despite several tight moments, she’s able to get out of trouble. Particularly her defensive slices have yielded quite a bit of success this match. The Czech is able to hold, saving multiple break points.

Pliskova *2-3 Muguruza

The quality of play is beginning to kick up now, which is nice to see. Muguruza manages to win a few more of the longer drawn rallies now, pushing her opponent out wide and her serve seems to look a little more stable now, too. It’s another easy hold for the 21 year old.

Pliskova 2-2* Muguruza

The Czech’s strong serve is slowly starting to kick into gear. Much like in her last match, it wasn’t at its best in the first set but Pliskova holds to love – putting the pressure right back on the Spaniard.

Pliskova *1-2 Muguruza

Muguruza finally manages to hold with relative ease. Her balltoss remains an issue but she placed her serve better and swats away an easy putaway in the forecourt to go up 2-1.

Pliskova 1-1* Muguruza

The Czech on the other hand is unperturbed in her service game and holds to 15, only dropping a point due to a double fault.

Pliskova *0-1 Muguruza

Muguruza holds serve but just like in the opening set, she cannot get through a service game without going via deuce. The Spaniard really needs to iron out her service issues and clean up her game – otherwise this will be an uphill battle unless Pliskova falls apart:

 

SET ONE

Pliskova 6-4 Muguruza

All out of sudden Pliskova throws in two horribly loose opening points but a close challenge and a terrible backhand volley by Muguruza save her from going down 0-40. The Spaniard tries to take the initiative but misses an easy forehand and backhand. The Czech is unable to convert her first set point but after another unforced error by her opponent and a service winner, Pliskova wraps up the first set in a little over an hour.

Pliskova *5-4 Muguruza

The Spaniard with her shortest service game yet but it doesn’t change the fact that her erratic serve gets her into far more trouble than it gets her out of. Despite going over deucey yet again, Muguruza holds and forces Pliskova to serve for the set.

Pliskova *5-3 Muguruza

Both women requested to see their coaches at the changeover and Muguruza was visibly annoyed with how the match went so far – her fighting spirit is there but her serve is notably absent. Pliskova then sails through her next service game, holding to love.

Pliskova *4-3 Muguruza

After a number of close service games, Muguruza gets up 40-0 fairly quickly – mainly thanks to finding her first serve. Pliskova, however, then thumps 2 returns winners and Muguruza throws in her 5th double fault of the game. After an unforced forehand error from the Spaniard, the Czech has her 6th break point – but is unable to convert it, just like the 7th, 8th and 9th. Muguruza continues to fight tooth and nail when she’s in a pinch but on the 10th break point it is yet another double fault that hands Pliskova the first break of the match.

Pliskova 3-3* Muguruza

Despite being up 40-15, Pliskova loses 3 points in a row but a gutsy – but pretty bad – overrule by Lahyani turns a missed first serve into an ace for the Czech. Muguruza manages to put pressure on the Czech but she can’t quite take advantage of it. Pliskova gets herself out of trouble with another ace.

Pliskova *2-3 Muguruza

At 30-30 Muguruza gets called foot-fault on what would have been an ace – Pliskova once again has looks at the Spaniard’s service game, forcing her opponent to go via deuce several times but the 21 year old comes up with the goods in tight situation, holding serve with – you guessed it – another ace.

 

Pliskova 2-2* Muguruza

The Czech finds herself holding without too much trouble, just like in her previous service game. The conditions in Dubai remain problematic thanks to 35°C and a borderline sandstorm.

Pliskova *1-2 Muguruza

Muguruza’s balltoss continues to be an issue in the hot and windy conditions in Dubai, yielding several double faults. The Spaniard once again finds herself down several break points but remains clutch when it matters most, holding serve with yet another ace. Pliskova still alternating between unforced errors and winners a little too much – also, the big serving Czech has only one challenge left.

Pliskova 1-1* Muguruza

Pliskova went down 0-30 quickly but after two aces and two missed Muguruza returns, the Czech holds fairly comfortably.

Pliskova *0-1 Muguruza

In an opening game that is initially characterised by unforced errors and double faults, Muguruza manages to hold serve after more than 8 minutes. The Spaniard opened with 2 double faults but managed to close the game with an ace despite struggling with her balltoss.

Let’s take a look at some of your predictions:

Pre-match:

If you’re looking for “big babe tennis” (to quote Mary Carillo), look no further. The Czech and the Spaniard possess over punishing, flat groundstrokes. Muguruza’s return of serve has been in fine form for most of the week, and the big serving Pliskova will provide a strong contrast to her last three opponents. Both women’s footwork remains an area that needs improvement – so both will be looking to land the first strike. This week, Pliskova has played some great tennis when it mattered, but her 2015 schedule has been tiring – to say the least – and featured extensive traveling. If her tank runs empty at some point, Muguruza’s relentless deep, flat hitting might prove to be too overwhelming.

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About René Denfeld (202 Articles)
Weather is my business. Tennis is my playground. Born in the year of the Golden Slam. Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have.

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