With first round wins at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova are set to face each other for the first time in a WTA main draw.
Victoria Chiesa
June 18, 2019

BIRMINGHAM, Great Britain - The latest page of the Pliskova family scrapbook will have a backdrop of British lawns.

Karolina and Kristyna are set to face off for the first time in a WTA main draw on Wednesday at the Nature Valley Classic, with a spot in the quarterfinals of the Premier event at stake. 

It was far from a guarantee that the twins would face off this week: World No.3 Karolina took a wildcard into a historic field, while Kristyna needed to not only qualify and end up with the right draw placement, but ultimately, win her first round match.

By the middle of the second day of main draw play in Birmingham, however, it was confirmed.

Karolina, the No.3 seed at the Premier event, did her part by beating Mihaela Buzarnescu in little more than an hour on Monday, and expounded upon the pleasures of being in close proximity to her sister, who entered the event ranked World No.112, this week after the match.

"I watched a couple of matches what she played so it is nice, a change for me and also for her that we share a lot of time, because sometimes we don't have that much [of a] chance," Karolina said.

"We are always kind of together every time we can, but sometimes my husband is there, so it's not always is it that easy. Here it is only me and her, and my coach and her coach.

"If I have bigger team, then we don't really spend the time together and here because the tournament is smaller, there is more time and more possibilities to be together, so it is nice."

Kristyna Pliskova, Birmingham 2019 (Jimmie48)
Kristyna Pliskova has won four matches so far this week in Birmingham to set up a meeting with her sister. (©Jimmie48/WTA)

The left-handed of the twins won three matches to reach the main draw, including a three-setter from compatriot Maria Bouzkova in the final qualifying round, before defeating fellow qualifier Viktoriya Tomova in straight sets on Tuesday, 6-3, 6-4.

Though she's enjoyed spending time with her sister away from the match courts in Birmingham, Karolina also proved candid about potentially facing off against her twin, calling the prospect "difficult," and frought with "strange emotions, and maybe nerves."

"So she was praying for Tomova?" Kristyna said with a laugh, when told by reporters, after she advanced to set up the match. 

"I just checked all the scores we played...I'm not sure about how it will be because it's very different than to face someone else.

"So many people were talking about it already yesterday, and I was like, 'Come on, I still have one more match to go, so don't skip.' But so far I'm feeling good, so they were expecting me to win today as well.

"It's very strange to play her. It's family, so you don't want her...but still I want to win as well."

Though Kristyna was the first of the two to win a main draw match at a Grand Slam, and break the Top 100, the twins' careers have diverged for longer than they might have hoped since they each won a junior Grand Slam title in 2010.

Related: Kristyna Pliskova stepping out of sister's shadow at BNP Paribas Open

Karolina, a former US Open finalist and World No.1, has been a mainstay in the Top 10 for the past four years, while Kristyna's career-high ranking of World No.35 came two summers ago in July.

The pair's head-to-head, officially, dates back to 2006, when Karolina won their first-ever professional meeting in the qualifying draw of a $10,000 ITF Pro Circuit event in Cavtat, Croatia.

They were 14 years old.

Now 27, they've faced each other eight more times in the years since, and Karolina leads, 5-4.

Their 'biggest' match to date, however, went the way of the left-handed twin - ironically, also on British soil.

Their only meeting at a WTA event, also their last to-date, came at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne six years ago.

Kristyna won their qualifying match, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3, to reach the main draw.

Karolina Pliskova, Kristyna Pliskova, Hong Kong 2014 (Getty)
The Pliskova twins have won three WTA doubles titles together, including in Hong Kong in 2014. (Getty)

"It was always tough to play [her when they were younger] and I know we spoke every time," Kristyna said.

"We were both, like, a bit scared what we would be after the match, but so far we played so many times before, so it was not like here.

"It is [the first] like in six years, so it's like from the beginning. It feels like first time. I think it was different before and also the tournaments were small, so you don't really see it, so I think this one will be more stressful."

They were due to face each other in a WTA main draws prior to this British summer: last year, on home soil at the J&T Banka Prague Open, they were drawn to face each other in the first round before Karolina withdrew with a right thigh injury.

"I think now it is going to be more difficult because, of course, more people will follow and especially on grass, I think," Karolina said on Monday.

"She has a different ranking than me, but I think it can be 50/50...but we didn't play for a while so there's going to be some strange emotions and maybe nerves. I don't know what is going to happen if we play because it's maybe five, six years when we played the last time.

"Before, we used to play a little bit more and we were together a little bit more, so I didn't feel that strange, as I would feel now...I think we both were like expecting it is going to come one day, so we pray for not to be in a Grand Slam first round because that would be the worst.

"It's just a tennis match. I hope we can both take it [the] normal way and just play."