3rd seed Elena Rybakina takes on former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the round of 16 of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Open on Thursday.
The 23-year-old comes into the tournament after having a dream run at the Australian Open. She powered her way to the finals before going down to Aryna Sabalenka in a memorable clash. Rybakina also defeated world No. 1 Iga Swiatek during the campaign. Elisabetta Cocciaretto, Kaja Juvan, Danielle Collins, Jelena Ostapenko, and Victoria Azarenka were the other players that Rybakina outplayed during the tournament.
Prior to the Australian Open, the Kazakhstani No. 1 lost in the second round in the Adelaide International 1 and the first round in the Adelaide International 2.
The Czech veteran had a dismal start to the season as she lost to Jelena Ostapenko in the first round of the Adelaide International 1. She made it to the main draw of the Adelaide International 2 with wins against Jule Niemeier and Shelby Rogers but lost in the round of 32 against Danielle Collins.
Pliskova had a good campaign in the Australian Open as she reached the quarterfinals with wins against Xiyu Wang, Yulia Putintseva, Varvara Gracheva, and Zhang Shuai. In the quarterfinals, she lost to Magda Linette. In the first round of the Abu Dhabi Open, Pliskova eased past Ysaline Bonaventure in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. Pliskova had an excellent win percentage of 83 on the first serve. The win percentage went up to 86 on the second serve.
Head-to-Head and Prediction
Elena Rybakina has an unblemished 2-0 record in the head-to-head scoreline against Karolina Pliskova. The talented youngster defeated Pliskova in straight sets in the 2022 Guadalajara Open first round.
Prediction: Elena Rybakina to win in three sets.
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