Karolina Pliskova vs Caroline Wozniacki in 2017 Doha Final

The WTA event in Qatar will feature the World No. 3 and a player vying to get back into the women’s top ten in the months ahead.

The WTA Doha event has been chaotic this week and Friday was no exception. A lot of tennis tournaments have rain delays in them, however the 2017 Doha event has featured an unusual amount. Caroline Wozniacki and Karolina Pliskova are the two entrants that have been best able to deal with both the ever-changing scheduling and the blustery conditions so far this week. As a result, they will meet in Saturday’s final.

Wozniacki did not have the best start to the season in the South Pacific. However, she may be back to playing the kind of tennis that fans saw her play in the late going of 2016. She survived a section of the draw that had both Agnieszka Radwanska and Angelique Kerber in it. In pulling double duty on Friday, the Dane defeated both Lauren Davis and Monica Puig.

Pliskova, the No. 2 seed in Doha, has survived a half of a draw that included Dominika Cibulkova and Garbine Muguruza. The Czech player’s physical conditioning was certainly put to the test on Friday as she had to play five sets of singles tennis, an enormous amount in the women’s game for just one day. She was fortunate to have beaten Shuai Zhang 6-2, 6-0 before facing a stronger test against Cibulkova. That match went to 6-3 in the deciding set and it will be interesting to see if the World No. 3 is fully ready for Saturday’s final.

Wozniacki does have a favorable head-to-head record against Pliskova. They’ve played in three matches and the Dane is thus far undefeated. However, all three of their matches took place at a time in Pliskova’s career before she raised her game to what it is now. Furthermore, all of their matches went the full three sets. The last time they met was at Istanbul 2014 with Wozniacki winning 6-2 in a deciding set.

If Pliskova wins the final then she will add another title to the one she won in Brisbane earlier this season already. She’s not quite in position to challenge for the No. 1 ranking yet, however she may do that when the hard-court events in the USA come around next month. For the players that Pliskova is looking up at, certainly Kerber’s tennis is well below the standard of the top ten at the moment. Serena Williams, the current No. 1, can’t be criticized for her form after winning the Aussie however her idleness in the smaller events may cost her top spot yet.

If Wozniacki claims the title, she would be just one good result away from the top ten. She seems poised to return to that upper echelon in March when the tour heads to Indian Wells and Miami. The women’s final in Doha has a fairly late start, starting at 6pm local time on Saturday.

Shane Lambert