WTA Indian Wells: Karolina Pliskova Powers Through Ana Ivanovic

It was a great day for Karolina Pliskova who has shown she is capable of playing her best tennis against top players like Ana Ivanovic. The Serbian came fresh from a quarterfinal and semifinal in Dubai and St. Petersburg, and now she was looking to get her first win from the Czech, who had a slow start to the season where she lost in the early rounds. But today, Pliskova played with confidence and probably her best tennis in the season as she defeated Ivanovic in only 49 minutes, 6-2, 6-0.

Solid Tennis From Pliskova Gives Her The First Set

Ivanovic started the match with three unforced errors and handed the early break to Pliskova after a double fault. The Czech held her serve without any inconvenience while Ivanovic continued making unforced errors, but her serve would improve in the next game. She started to play with a bit more aggressiveness and tried to attack more. It was now time for Pliskova to confirm the lead at 2-1 but she began to rush to finish the points and that only ended in unforced errors. Ivanovic broke to level the set, but the satisfaction and the mistakes of the Czech wouldn’t carry on in the next game as she came back from 40-0 down to break Ivanovic.

Pliskova didn’t drop her level though, she learned her lesson after the first break she suffered and this time held in a less complicated service game. The serve of the Czech proved to be one of her biggest weapons while the Serbian still struggled with her toss. Ivanovic’s defensive skills were tested by Pliskova who didn’t miss an opportunity to come to the net, but still Ivanovic fought and saved two break points. The Serbian hit a slow second serve and Pliskova didn’t hesitate to make a powerful cross court backhand to confirm the break and serve for the set at 5-2.

The Serbian called her coach in the following changeover who also noticed the lack of movement from Ivanovic apparently caused by a knee problem. “Can you manage this knee issue? Because if you can’t you gotta stop,” Nigel Sears said to Ivanovic at what she replied with a positive answer. “If the knee is too bad then stop, call the trainer instead of me, because I can’t help you to move,” Sears said, showing his frustration on flawed performance by Ivanovic in the first set.

​Photo: Getty Images / Matthew Stockman
Karolina Pliskova and Ana Ivanovic | ​Photo: Getty Images / Matthew Stockman

Her knee was heavily loaded with tape, and it was clear that the Serbian was not comfortable. Still she made a last effort to come back into the match. While Pliskova served for the set, she faced two break points, both of which she saved to grab the first set 6-2 in 29 minutes.

Pliskova Too Powerful For An Erratic Ivanovic

The second set was not much better for the former world number one, who continued to struggle with her knee problems and her lack of movement. Pliskova got the early break while the Serbian couldn’t run to defend herself from the powerful shots of her opponent. Pliskova had no problems winning her serve as she was given three points by Ivanovic’s mistakes who couldn’t win a rally and had only won one point since the set had started. Things didn’t improve for the Serbian who again lost her serve to hand Pliskova a lead of 3-0.

The Czech didn’t drop her level while Ivanovic continued missing shots, and for the second time in the set, Pliskova held to love. The match was slipping through Ivanovic’s fingers as she tried a final attempt to show some fight, but in the end, lost the most competitive game of the second set. Pliskova would serve to continue her good record against the Serbian. The crowd tried to encourage Ivanovic as Pliskova handed her a point after her backhand ended at the net. However, her serve came to her rescue and helped her to win the second set and with it, the match with a bagel.

​Ana Ivanovic | Photo: Getty Images / Matthew Stockman
​Ana Ivanovic | Photo: Getty Images / Matthew Stockman

Pliskova’s Win By the Numbers

The statistics showed that although Pliskova played solid tennis, the scoreline was mostly affected due Ivanovic’s low numbers. The Czech hit seven aces and no double faults while Ivanovic only hit two aces and six double faults. There was some balance in the winners as Pliskova had 18 to the 11 of her opponent. The big and crucial difference was in the unforced errors where Pliskova only had nine while Ivanovic had 28.

The serve of Pliskova was a huge factor in the dominant win. She won 19 out of 23 points on her first serve and won six break points out of nine opportunities. Both players won the same amount of net points, two out of two.

Next For Pliskova is Johanna Konta

The British player who reached the Australian Open semifinals defeated Denisa Allertova to reach the last 16, where she will meet Pliskova. Johanna Konta has played against Pliskova on three occasions, all of them were won by the Czech. Their last match was in 2015 at Birmingham where Pliskova prevailed in three sets.