Karolina Pliskova continues her bid for a second Qatar Total Open title in Doha when she meets the in-form Ons Jabeur in the third round on Wednesday night.
?? Karolina Pliskova  vs ?? Ons Jabeur [WC] Match Info
Date: Wednesday February 26
Tournament: WTA Doha R3
Court: Centre Court
Time: 7.00pm local time (4.00pm GMT)
Karolina Pliskova vs Ons Jabeur Head-to-Head
Pliskova leads 1-0
2019 | US Open R32 | Pliskova 6-1 4-6 6-4
Karolina Pliskova vs Ons Jabeur Match Preview
Pliskova targets back-to-back wins for the first time since the Australian Open when she comes up against the rising Jabeur in the Doha third round on Wednesday night.
A champion in Doha three years ago, Pliskova got her quest for a second trophy off to an emphatic start in her opening match, crushing Bernarda Pera by a 6-3 6-0 scoreline. The Czech and American were evenly matched until midway through the opening set, with Pliskova putting her foot down and never relinquishing the momentum as she raced away with the match to register her most dominant win of 2020 to date, prevailing in just 56 minutes.
“I think the beginning was a little bit tough,” Pliskova said after the match. “We both played well, there were a couple tough, long games, but then somehow it turned to be quite easy, especially the second set, she was missing a lot. But she’s maybe loss her rhythm a little bit, I thought I was serving well, playing quite fast, so that can happen, I think.”
Pliskova continues to be a curious case on the WTA Tour. She’s improved her consistency tremendously, winning four WTA titles in 2019 across all surfaces in Brisbane, Rome, Eastbourne and Zhengzhou, finishing last year at No. 2 in the world – the highest she’s ever finished a season, following on from top eight season-ends from 2016 onwards. However, on the flip side, Pliskova has developed a habit of stumbling when it matters most – she failed to make it past the fourth round at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, while she has still yet to pick up a Premier Mandatory title, let alone a Grand Slam.
With the women’s field as wide open as it is, that’s probably not quite good enough for a player as explosive as Pliskova – and that trend is continuing to start 2020, with the Czech successfully defending her Brisbane title before suffering a straight sets loss in the third round of the Australian Open. In saying that, Pliskova tends to fare very well in these Premier and Premier-5 tournaments – is she set for another title-run in Doha this week?
She’ll have to play very well to get past Jabeur in the third round. The Tunisian trailblazer has been one of the form players on tour to launch 2020 and it’s taken Grand Slam champions to knock her out of her last three tournaments. Jabeur has continued her fine form in Doha and has registered a pair of extremely impressive victories to make the third round, defeating Katerina Siniakova 6-3 6-2 before a brilliant 6-4 6-3 triumph over the equally as in-form Jennifer Brady.
Jabeur has always been one of the most talented players on tour, but she has struggled with her consistency and before last season, had never managed double-digit tour-level wins in a single season – and that’s despite making her first WTA final at the Premier-level Moscow final at the end of 2018. However, Jabeur began making strides in 2019 as she won a total of 15 tour-level matches for the season, including reaching the semi-finals of Eastbourne and the third round of the U.S. Open.
As mentioned, Jabeur has taken her game to the next level in 2020, becoming the first Arab woman to make a Grand Slam quarter-final when she did so at the Australian Open, beating the likes of Johanna Konta, Caroline Garcia, Caroline Wozniacki and Wang Qiang before going down to eventual champion Sofia Kenin, while she was involved in one of the best matches of the season in the second round of Dubai last week, falling in a deciding set tiebreak to Simona Halep as she was knocked out by another eventual champion.
Karolina Pliskova vs Ons Jabeur Prediction
Jabeur is certainly playing well enough to cause the upset in this encounter and comes into this clash on the back of two very good victories. Pliskova seems to have found her game again after a crushing opening win in Doha, but I’m not sure how much we can really take from that match. Whatever happens, I can see this match going the distance, but Pliskova probably still has the slight edge in this match-up between power players.