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Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Jelena Ostapenko has the beating of Pliskova on slow courts

French Open champion can defy head-to-head record

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko
1 of 1

BT Sport 1, 10.30am Friday

Last season’s French Open heroine Jelena Ostapenko is hitting form at the perfect time for a crack at defending her Roland Garros crown and the Latvian can confirm her well-being with victory over the classy Karolina Pliskova in their quarter-final clash in Stuttgart.

There’s little to separate the pair if both perform at their brilliant best but Ostapenko gets the nod on the surface of her greatest triumph, with recent performances hinting she’s operating at a similar level to her Grand Slam success this time last year.

The talented 20-year-old made the final of the Miami Open last month and straight-set wins over Russian duo Ekaterina Makarova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the Fed Cup last weekend has put her spot-on for a title tilt on the Stuttgart clay.

Pliskova leads 3-1 in their head-to-head battles but the Latvian youngster will continue to improve and her snug success over Zarina Diyas in the last round - she dropped just three games - suggests she is to be taken seriously.

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Wins over Ekaterina Makarova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the Fed Cup has put Ostapenko spot-on for a title tilt on the Stuttgart clay
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