1. Petra Kvitova v Timea Bacsinszky (RG, R4)
The second quarter of the women’s draw has thrown up some wonderful storylines with three of the four players reaching the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in their career. Timea Bacsinszky achieved that feat with a tactically superb performance to defeat an error-strewn, Madison Keys, 6-4 6-2. Yes, OK Madison hit a lot of errors and was missing big, but that was partly down to the way that Bacsinszky played. The Swiss player hit nearly as many winners as Keys, but hit 15 less unforced errors, served up a number of cute drop shots and consistently got her opponent on the run. Bacsinszky played a really smart match and now gets another big hitter with a huge forehand in Petra Kvitova.
Reaching the fourth round of Roland Garros is a big deal for Petra. The world number four hadn’t reached the second week of a Grand Slam that wasn’t Wimbledon since the 2012 US Open. After two drawn out three setters, Kvitova came out and sealed in a win in straight sets. I was really surprised how straightforward it was as Kvitova defeated the dangerous, Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-3 6-2. Kvitova and Bacsinszky have played each other once before with Timea winning in Shenzhen, 6-4 6-4 at the start of 2015. There’s no doubt that clay suits Bacsinszky’s game better than Kvitova’s but also, Petra is Petra…
The winner of this match will be the favourite to reach the semi-finals. However, if tennis has taught us anything this week and just generally, that’s not always how thingd pan out. I’m actually going for an upset in this one. Bacsinszky has broken new ground this week but I honestly believe that this won’t phase her. She seems a really gutsy player and she takes it all in her stride. Petra could deliver some peak-Petra goodness and i’m fully aware of this. However, I think Bacsinszky’s variety and tactics could give her the edge.
Prediction: Bacsinszky d. Kvitova in 2 tight sets
2. Andreea Mitu v Alison Van Uytvanck (RG, R4)
It is for moments like this which is why I love WTA tennis. Who could have imagined that in the second week of a Grand Slam, we’d be getting a fourth round match between Alison Van Uytvanck and Andreea Mitu? Prior to Roland Garros, Van Uytvanck had won just one Grand Slam main draw draw match (at Wimbledon 2014) and Mitu had NEVER WON ONE. That’s just an incredible stat. Mitu defeated the number 12 seed, Karolina Pliskova in the second round and then overcame marathon woman, Francesca Schiavone in the third round, 7-5 6-4. Van Uytvanck defeated the number 32 seed, Zarina Diyas in the second round after being dropped a first set bagel but saved her best performance of the tournament for the third round where she thoroughly outplayed Kristina Mladenovic in a 6-4 6-1 victory.
I’ve always liked Van Uytvanck’s game and her match against Andrea Petkovic in Antwerp earlier this year was one of the better matches of 2015. She has a lovely serve and against Mladenovic, was playing some magnificent drop shots. Mitu is a player I know less about. I watched two points of her match against Agnieszka Radwanska at Wimbledon last year before rain suspended play. You can read more about Mitu HERE from The Tennis Island. The shot of her in tears after beating Schiavone was a lovely moment.
Who knows what will happen in this match. There’s so many factors and it’s difficult to determine how each player will react to the occasion. Again, it comes down to instinct for me and i’m going for Alison.
Prediction: Van Uytvanck d. Mitu in 3 sets