Australian Open Day 6 Women’s Predictions Including Karolina Muchova vs Karolina Pliskova

The stars of Czech tennis take to the court on day 6 at the Australian Open with Karolina Muchova again meeting Karolina Pliskova in a Grand Slam. Our panel of Jim Smith, Damian Kust, and Fraser Learmonth offer their predictions for this and other matches.

Elina Svitolina vs Yulia Putintseva

Damian: Their rivalry dates back to 2011 when Yulia Putintseva defeated Elina Svitolina at an ITF event in Tyumen. The Kazakh had a 2-0 lead in the head-to-head by 2012, before losing the next five at the expense of Svitolina. Putintseva is a gritty and problematic opponent but looking at how the Ukrainian managed to come up with the goods against her over the years, she probably does it again here. Svitolina in 3

Fraser: Svitolina did well to put Gauff away in straight sets in her second round match. The 16-yer old American is a tricky customer and often brings out the worst in people’s games with the pressure of expectation that accompanies playing someone so young. Svitolina will now be eyeing a deep run in the tournament but must first get past another tricky customer in Putintseva. The fiery Kazakh is always a dangerous opponent and a prime candidate to cause upsets in the early rounds of slams. However, Svitolina looks focused and has the higher ceiling. If she stays engaged she should go deep in Australia, starting with another win here. Svitolina in 3

Jim: Elina Svitolina has looked sharp so far at the Australian Open, with her comfortable 6-4 6-3 victory over Cori Gauff particularly impressive. Yulia Putintseva has played some fine tennis herself, but Svitolina has that much more variety and power from the baseline. She also generally enjoys faster conditions more than the Kazakh. That should prove to be the difference here. Svitolina in 3

Kaia Kanepi vs Donna Vekic

Damian: Kaia Kanepi is in absolutely brilliant form, having already defeated Aryna Sabalenka and the defending champion Sofia Kenin this year. The runner-up at Gippsland Trophy, the Estonian has been playing fantastic tennis in the past two weeks. Donna Vekic is finally getting something going after being on a six-match losing streak but she probably won’t be able to find an answer to that level from Kanepi. Kanepi in 2

Fraser: Kanepi did well to knock out reigning champion Kenin in her last match. However, the 2020 champion looked rusty and off her game both in Abu Dhabi and in Melbourne. The same can’t be said of Donna Vekic, who seems to have found her best tennis at just the right time after a slow start to the year. The Croat was convincing in her win against French Open finalist Podoroska and will be hopeful of another good showing here. Kanepi has made a name for herself by taking out big names in tournaments. However, I’m not sure she has it in her to puill off another big win here. Vekic in 3

Jim: This feels like a very important match for Donna Vekic. The Croatian has consistently struggled to perform at the level she is capable of on the biggest stage, but has been handed a gilt-edged chance to reach the fourth round. Kaia Kanepi is in fine form herself, but if Vekic can replicate the level she showed in beating Nadia Podoroska in the second round, she should have just enough to reach the second week in Melbourne. Vekic in 3

Anett Kontaveit vs Shelby Rogers

Damian: Two players that have been doing extremely well here. Anett Kontaveit remains unbeaten after finishing runner-up at the Grampians Trophy (where the final wasn’t played). Shelby Rogers only lost to Ashleigh Barty last week and managed to dominate the World No. 1 for about a set. The American has been that tiny bit more impressive to me but this is very likely to come down to the form of the day. Rogers in 3

Fraser: Two aggressive ball strikers meet in a third round clash that should be very entertaining. Both are coming off career years as far as slams are concerned, with solid runs at the US Open headlining their 2020 campaigns. Rogers is undoubtedly talented, but Kontaveit surely has the higher ceiling of the two. The major concern for the Estonian is the moments of madness she occasionally has in matches. Her first set against Heather Watson being a prime example. if she keeps those moments out of this match she should win it easily enough. Kontaveit in 2

Jim: This has the makings of a very good match. Both Shelby Rogers and Anett Kontaveit are in fine form and both possess the power to take the racket out of their opponent’s hands. But Kontaveit is the higher-ranked player for a reason. She has the higher ceiling and more options. Expect that to give her a narrow, but decisive advantage. Kontaveit in 3

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Karolina Muchova vs Karolina Pliskova

Damian: This could be one of the best matches of the tournament so far. The Czechs split their 2019 meetings at Grand Slams (Karolina Pliskova won here, Karolina Muchova at Wimbledon). Both have been doing well this week but in rather fast conditions, Pliskova should have the edge as the more powerful player. She can be wildly inconsistent though so this should be really tight. Pliskova in 3

Fraser: Pliskova won’t be happy to be meeting Muchova in the early rounds of a slam. Her fellow Czech knocked Pliskova out of Wimbledon in 2019 in what was an instant classic that featured 24 games in the third set. Muchova is a rising star on the tour with a great all-round game that still has room for growth. She may well be one to make a statement at this tournament and I think she has the edge on Pliskova here, who hasn’t looked herself in 2021. Muchova in 2

Jim: Karolina Pliskova seems to be determined to fall short at the Grand Slams at times, but the Czech has made a good start in Melbourne this year. Karolina Muchova, who made her name by beating her compatriot 13-11 in the fifth at Wimbledon two years ago, is good enough to really test the sixth seed, but Pliskova’s booming serve and forehand should see her through, just about. Pliskova in 3

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