Karolina Pliskova vs Elise Mertens: Rome Masters Preview and Prediction

Second seed Karolina Pliskova squares off against 11th seed Elise Mertens in the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters. 

Pliskova began her campaign with a convincing straight-set win over compatriot, Barbora Strycova. Playing another player from her own country, she defeated Anna Blinkova 6-4 6-3 in the pre-quarterfinals. 

On the other hand, Mertens began her run defeating the experienced Hsieh-Su Wei 6-3 6-1. She delivered a resounding win over Magda Linette outsmarting her 6-2 6-4. The Belgian outlasted Danka Kovinic 6-4 6-4 to book her place in the quarters. 

Head to Head record 

Pliskova leads the head to head record 1-0 against Mertens. This is their first encounter on clay.

Being the defending champion, Pliskova is on the right track to win the title again. 

Consistency is Mertens's strengths having won a record 26 matches this season. Her effective counterpunching game and solid defense could trouble Pliskova. 

The Czech has faced a couple of problems with her serve getting broken quite frequently. 

Strengths of Pliskova 

Though clay is not her favorite surface, Pliskova uses her big serve to set up her powerful groundstrokes. She has improved her net play, reaping rich rewards. Her defense is a bit shaky and her tendency to go for too many shots can lead to a huge number of unforced errors. 

Strengths of Mertens

She is an aggressive baseliner with a typical first-strike mentality. Her backhand is a deadly weapon as it is powerful as well as accurate. She must improve the consistency of her serve. Her defense is solid as her lateral movement helps her to stay close to the baseline while returning. 

On a seven-match winning streak at the Italian Open, Pliskova is in red-hot form. Having won all her matches in straight sets so far, Mertens has momentum on her side and would look to continue her sizzling run. 

Prediction - Karolina Pliskova to win in three sets

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