Simona Halep vs Karolina Pliskova: Rome Masters Preview and Prediction

It is the battle of the top two seeds as Simona Halep takes on Karolina Pliskova in the finals of the Rome Masters. 

Halep came through a roller-coaster three-setter against Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals. She played smart tennis in the crucial moments extracting errors from Muguruza and romped home to a 6-3 4-6 6-4 win. The Spaniard had a woeful day with her serve committing eight double faults. 

On the other hand, Pliskova notched up a straight-set win over Marketa Vondrousova in the semifinals. Vondrousova was a shadow of the player in her win against  Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals as she struggled with her second serve. 

"I can't say I was in the mental state I am now back then because at the time, playing Simona on clay would have felt like no chance, now, I would go for it more and believe I could beat her, we've had a lot of good matches when I beat her, I believe for the first time in Fed Cup, the surface was slow, so that's where the belief started, in Paris". 

"I almost won and she was playing great that day, I feel like it's still her surface, not mine, but I've beaten her on clay before, it's a different story on hard-courts; that feels more like my surface!," said Pliskova optimistic about her chances. The defending champion has had strong momentum this week. 

Halep's defense and counterpunching ability has been on song in this tournament and she would depend on that to negate Pliskova's attacking instincts. On a 13 match winning streak this year, she is the woman to beat. Being a two-time finalist in Rome, Halep would be strongly motivated to grab the title this time. 

Head to Head record 

Halep leads the head to head record 7-4 against Pliskova. Pliskova needs to blast powerful winners from the baseline to keep Halep in check. Halep is excellent at retrieving balls courtesy her exceptional foot-speed. With Halep's first serve not up to the mark in recent times, Pliskova would look to exploit that. Having won three of her last four matches against Halep, Pliskova would be confident about her game. 

Both players would be keen to assert their credentials with a win here. 

Prediction - Karolina Pliskova to win in three sets 

Featured image credits: Getty Images 

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