Wimbledon Week 1: Opportunities Earned
Kvitova is the first contender for the throne. And Halep said goodbye to him
A little over two years ago, on December 20, 2016, a robber entered the house of Petra Kvitova . The attacker almost did not find any valuables - his production was just under $ 200. However, the Czech woman was at home at that time. She faced the robber, he lunged with a knife, from which Petra tried to defend herself with her leading left hand, and the blow fell precisely on her. As a result, tendons and ligaments were damaged, but fortunately, she quickly had a successful operation. Many, after this injury, wrote off Petra and did not believe that she would ever not only continue to win at tournaments, but would play in general.
Kvitova's early return
It was assumed that that the recovery would take six months, but in reality everything went even faster - Kvitova at the last moment made the decision that she would return to Roland Garros, just five months after being wounded. Of course, getting in shape was not easy for Petra. At Roland Garros, the Czech reached the second round, and the subsequent victory in Birmingham was more of a temporary surge. In the final of that tournament, by the way, Kvitova beat Ashley Barty in three sets, a rival whom she has now met in the most important quarterfinal match of the Australian Open. But we'll talk about Melbourne a little later, but for now let's remember how the Czech woman returned to the tour.
Petra's victories began in St. Petersburg
Of the remaining tournaments in 2017, Petra played well only two - the US Open and Beijing. In New York, she reached the quarterfinals, where she lost to Venus Williams, who was having a great season, in a tie-break of the third game, and in Beijing, to the semifinals, where she was stopped by the future champion of this tournament Caroline Garcia. 2018 was very fruitful for Kvitova in terms of titles. The Czech woman won five trophies, and she won tournaments on all four types of courts (if we divide open hard and hard in the hall). Petra only had more titles in 2011, when she first became the champion of Wimbledon - then she won six tournaments and also won on all four surfaces.
Kvitova won the first trophy in 2018 in St. Petersburg, where she flew after an unsuccessful performance at the Australian Open. On the way to victory, Petra defeated the sixth racket of the world, Elena Ostapenko (6: 0, 6: 2), and in the final she gave only three games to Christina Mladenovic, who defended the title, who was then 10th in the world. By the way, the Czech woman is announced to St. Petersburg this year as well, but if she reaches the final of the Australian Open, then one can hardly count on her performance in the Northern capital, especially on a successful one. Taking into account the skipping of the first round thanks to the high seeding, Petra can start on Thursday, but even that gives only five days between matches in Melbourne and St. Petersburg. Quite a bit, taking into account the long-distance flight, the change of eight time zones and the frosty weather after Ms.Have a good Australian summer.
PetrAgrad. After the tragic incident, Kvitova won her second title
Petra Kvitova, having won a brilliant victory in the final of the tournament in the city of Petra, won her second trophy after a forced break in her career.
Spring triumphs and failure at the end of the season
After St. Petersburg in 2018, Petra continued her victorious stride, bringing the Czech national team two points in the Federation Cup and winning the title in Doha. There she beat three top 5 tennis players, including the first racket of the world, Caroline Wozniacki. The performances in Indian Wells and Miami turned out to be much less successful, but on the American hard Kvitova always played not the best way. Then she won tournaments in Prague, Madrid and Birmingham, but the Czech did not have enough strength for the second half of the season. Peter ended the season with five defeats in a row, including losing all three matches in the WTA Final Championship. She was supposed to perform in the final of the Federation Cup, but was unable to enter the court due to illness. However, her friends on the national team already beat the Americans at home - 3-0.
4-0 in favor of the Czech Republic. Kvitova, Plishkova, Sinyakova / Kreichikova - on the tennis Olympus
The best couple in the world and two singles in the top eight tennis players. No nation can boast of such success.
In Australia, Kvitova started with a victory over Daniel Collins (in Brisbane), after which she lost to Anette Kontaveit. But at the largest of the preceding Australian Open tournaments, in Sydney, Petra won the sixth title in 52 weeks. No other tennis player has had so many trophies in the past year. In the final, despite feeling unwell, the Czech woman snatched the victory from Ashley Barty - 1: 6, 7: 5, 7: 6 (7: 3).
Kvitova smashes opponents at the Australian Open
At the Australian Open, she is confidently outplaying one opponent after another, without losing more than four games in any game ... True, it should be noted that here, unlike many other tournaments, Petra was lucky with the grid. Arina Sobolenko sensationally lost to Amanda Anisimova, who then easily lost to the Czech - the young American was not enough for two bright matches in a row. Ashley Barty, to some extent, can also be called a more convenient rival for Kvitova than Maria Sharapova or Caroline Wozniacki, besides, Petra has already defeated her twice since returning to the tour.
Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic, 8) - Ashley Barty (Australia, 15) - 6 : 1, 6: 1.
Daniel Collins (USA) - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) - 2: 6, 7: 5, 6: 1.
Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece, 14) - Roberto Bautista-Agut (Spain, 22) - 7: 5, 4: 6, 6: 4, 7: 6 (7: 2).
Rafael Nadal (Spain, 2) - Francis Tiafoe (USA) -6: 3, 6: 4, 6: 2.
And neither Angelica Kerber, nor Sloane Stevens, nor Kiki Bertens made it to the semifinals - there Daniel Collins was waiting for the winner of the match between Kvitova and Barty. The American knocked Kerber out of the net, giving her only two games, and in the quarterfinals she turned the tide of the match with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who had previously beaten both Bertens and Stevens. At the same time, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Plishkova remained in the upper half of the grid. Any of them are more difficult opponents than Barty or Collins.
Petra duel with Ashley turned out to be no less fleeting than the previous Czech matches in this tournament. In the first set, despite a considerable number of unforced errors, Kvitova swept her opponent off the court with her sharp blows. In the second game, Barty adjusted the serve, it became more successful to go to the net and drive the Czech woman around the court more with short crosses. As a result, the fight at first was only on the serves of Kvitova, and Barty lost only four points in four of his games. And at the decisive moment, Petra raised the pace, Ashley stopped keeping up, and in the ninth game the Czech made a break, after which she filed for the match - 6: 1, 6: 4. For Kvitova, this is the sixth Slam semifinal in her life and, as she herself put it, the first in her second career - that is, after being wounded.
Petra can easily deprive her opponent of her usual game. I knew it. At times I couldn't control anything at all. At the beginning of the meeting, she served especially well. Despite the fact that I got good first serves, she sent the ball under the back line from the reception. I had to step back all the time. Petra played very cleanly, I should give her credit, - said Barty after the defeat.
I served well, made the first break and then confidently led the score. In the second set, Ashley returned to the game and did not give presents on the court. I had to fight to the end. Barty has a great backhand cut, and she tries to be varied, so I needed to hit hard without letting her play her tennis. Collins doesn't have much experience, but on the other hand, she is not afraid of anything and plays aggressively. I remember our game in Brisbane. The fight consisted of ups and downs. She applied for the match. This time I need to play better, ”said Kvitova.
Khalep is losing his throne. But who will take him?
Kvitova's victory over Barty means a guaranteed change of the first racket of the world after the Australian Open - the Czech will overtake Simon Halep in any case. However, Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Plishkova also claim the first place, and so far two of them may be ahead of Petra next Monday - that is, Kvitova has guaranteed herself only the third position. Plishkova needs to win the title to become the first, Svitolina - to reach the final. Osaka needs to beat Svitolina on a quarterin the final to score more points than Kvitova at the moment, but, of course, if Petra reaches the final, then these rating points will not be enough for the Japanese woman.
At the same time, only Serena Williams can lose in the final to Kvitova - defeat from any other rival will mean that Peter will not become the first racket of the world now. By the way, of the four contenders for the tennis throne, only Plishkova was the best in the world so far. So if Carolina does not win her first Grand Slam title this coming Saturday, we will be the 26th leader in women's singles since the rankings began in 1975.
Full alignment in the struggle for 1st position in Melbourne on January 22