Karolina seeded number 1 at Indian wells taking on a player largely known in the doubles circles Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia. Karolina is normally ice cool on serve even more so during rallies but it was not so in this one. The lady with the bullet serve from Czech republic was wayward on it treating us to a massive 12 Double faults. Beatriz like most players from Latin America is comfortable on clay more than hard. Check out 2-1 Beatriz 0-15. The drop shot direct from the serve is one of the most ambitious shots to attempt especially if the serve is full to medium like Beatriz served here. The Brazilian returned the favor with a cheeky drop shot of her own showing her clay court acumen. With Haddad Maia in control of the set up a break at 3-2(40-15) on her serve this happens. A clear let from my vantage point wasn’t called as such, maybe I need glasses now. Karolina let it go and lost the point. Maybe the technology wasn’t working? It proved to be pivotal. Beatriz went on to hold in that tough service game with some fantastic forehand winners in there. The set would go the way of the Brazilian. Check out set point 5-3(40-15). In as much as Pliskova hits the ball well without breaking a sweat, she can be so lethargic as evidenced by the weak forehand. Unacceptable.
On to set number two. Pliskova has the fastest serve on Tour this year. Its no wonder she bested Haddad in the Aces department with 5 to 2. Also setting aside the double faults she served a decent 63% on first serve and so did Beatriz. The difference maker was the unforced errors which Karolina committed with reckless abandon. Check out very first point of the set. Pliskova did begin to find her range though as the set wore on. Check out 3-1(30-15). When she gets you on the baseline scrambling to get to her shots its usually point over. Same applies to 4-3(30-15). Haddad Maia’s failure to close out the match at 5-3 threatened to put the party on hold. At 30-40, her footwork let her down. From the serve she was struggling to get to position to play the Pliskova return which went straight into her body. As it were, it was just a temporary reprieve for the Czech. Watch 5-5(15-40). Beatriz’s forehand again bang on the line again punishing some short hitting from Karolina. That was the decisive moment of the match.Haddad Maia’s quest for a first WTA title continues. Pliskova really missing a great chance to win here with Sabalenka and Barty all absent.