Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: WTA 500-Yaara Valley Classic-Selected round of 16 matches

WTA 500-Yaara Valley Classic-Selected round of 16 matches

We take a look at the WTA 500 Yarra Valley matches between Karolina Pliskova and Danielle Rose Collins as well as Petra Martic and Shelby Rogers. 

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2021 WTA Tour
WTA 500
Yarra Valley Classic 
Selected Round of 16 Matches- 3rd February
Melbourne Park

Karolina Pliskova (3) (51/100) vs 
Danielle Rose Collins (13) (15/10)

The WTA Tour has decided to set up three adjacent WTA 500 events leading up to the Aussie Open.  The Aussie Open draw has been split between the Yarra Valley Classic and Gippsland Trophy.  The Grampians Trophy has been set up for those who had to undergo more severe quarantine.  More of the premier players will be in attendance in the women’s events (with the ATP Cup hogging the spotlight for the men).  The fearless Danielle Rose Collins is one of the more enigmatic players on tour.  Utilizing an all-or-nothing approach, she is capable of taking down huge scalps while occasionally falling in the early stages of events.  She rose to prominence by reaching the 2018 Miami Open semi-finals as a qualifier.  Her potential was fully realized during her 2019 semi-final run here in Melbourne.  Collins only managed to reach the quarterfinal at one other event in 2019: the Volvo Car Open.  This epitomizes her wildly inconsistent form.  2020 was no different.  She begun the year with wins over top players such as Svitolina and Kenin.  This included a run to the semi-final in Adelaide.  But she lost in the opening rounds of her first two post-lockdown events.  She then bounced back with an unexpected quarterfinal run in Roland Garros.  So, who knows?  Collins does seem to love Australia and she certainly has a penchant for taking down the biggest names.

The statuesque Pliskova is one of the players who was most affected by last year’s lockdown.  The 16-time title winner began 2020 in imperious fashion, defending her Brisbane title.  But the rest of the year was pretty much a washout.  She seemed to struggle with all the new regulations (a creature of habit perhaps).  But the experienced Pliskova will have learned from last years’ experience.  She is an archetypal hardcourt specialist, using her height and power to demolish opponents in her best form.  She is also an Aussie specialist.  Last year she claimed her 3rd Brisbane title.  She also reached the final of the 2015 Sydney event.  She has also played some consistent Grand Slam tennis at Melbourne Park: she reached the semi-final in 2019 and two further quarterfinals.  I fully expect the Czech star to bounce back to her former form this season.

This will be the first ever meeting between these two aggressive baseliners.  I very much like Collins is this encounter, despite my belief that Pliskova will bounce back this year.  Collins loves Melbourne Park and loves to upset top seeds.

Petra Martic (7) vs Shelby Rogers (Betting to be added on release)
Shelby Rogers is one of those curious American tennis players who can deliver the unexpected.  Like a lesser version of Coco Vandeweghe or Madison Keys, Rogers is able to occasionally deliver remarkable upsets.  The former US Girls National Champion famously accounted for Simona Halep at the 2017 Aussie Open.  Perhaps more remarkable, she manged to upstage Queen Serena at last year’s Top Seed Open.  It’s important to remember just how injury has curtailed Rogers.  She had persistent knee issues that led to massive surgery in 2018 (she missed tennis for essentially a year).  This took her some time to recover form.  But 2020 ended with rich encouragement, as Rogers made an unexpected mark on the North American hardcourt scene.  She made the semi-finals of the Top Seed Open (beating Serena along the way).  And then she reached the quarterfinal of the US Open (her 2nd Grand Slam quarterfinal following her 2017 French Open run).  She has seen off Ferro and a resilient Rebecca Peterson.   

Rogers will certainly be faced with a much tougher proposition in her round of 16 encounter.  Petra Martic is a player who has improved steadily over the past three years.  Much like Rogers, Martic is a player who has been seriously affected by injury.  She suffered from a plethora of injuries, culminating in a disc protrusion in her lower back which threatened to end her playing career.  Incremental improvement led to a breakthrough in 2019.  She reached the semi-finals in Charleston before claiming her maiden title: the Istanbul Cup.  Later in the year she would reach her first Premier-level final in Zhengzhou.  But it was in Grand Slam tennis that she started to blossom.  After a career best Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance at Roland Garros, she went on to two consecutive 4th round finishes at Wimbledon and the French Open.  She was an established top 20 player.  Like many others, 2020 proved a difficult year for Martic.  But she still showed her class with semi-finals in Dubai and Palermo, though her season ended with a whimper.  She needed three sets to overcome Lapko in the first round and will be looking to have a solid start to the season. 

I was initially surprised to discover that this will be the first meeting of these two.  But looking at their relative injury histories, perhaps it wasn’t such a surprise.  I’m fancying another upset here.  Rogers has shown her hardcourt prowess against the best players in the world.  Martic was quite poor towards the end of last season and may be vulnerable.  

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