WTA Indian Wells, Quarter-Final Preview: Agnieszka Radwanska v Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Seedings have held up in the second quarter of the 2016 BNP Paribas Open women’s draw to produce a fascinating first quarter-final between Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova. This will be the pair’s tenth career meeting having last played in the final of the WTA Finals in Singapore at the end of 2015.

Petra Kvitova reached her first quarter-final of the year with three battling wins in the desert; the Czech player came from a set down in her fourth round match to defeat the qualifier, Nicole Gibbs, 4-6 6-3 6-4. Kvitova led *3-1 *40-15 in the first set; a combination of Kvitova’s rapidly rising error count (25 for the first set) and Gibbs growing in confidence saw the American player win four games in a row and earn her first set against Kvitova.

Kvitova was generally clutch in the second set; she lost her early break of serve, but then came back from 0-30 and 0-40 down in consecutive games, before forcing the decider. In the third set, Kvitova was playing quite patiently and moving especially well. The former Wimbledon champion looks fitter than ever and it’s showing on the court as she was getting to so many balls. In her press conference, Gibbs joked about how well she served in her third round win and how that was unusual… unfortunately, it was the serve, with just 53% of first serves in, that let her down at times against Kvitova. This was a super effort from Gibbs and all in all, an excellent tournament from her…Onwards and upwards!

Radwanska maintained her record of reaching the quarter-finals at every tournament she has played in 2016 with a 6-3 6-3 fourth round win over Jelena Jankovic. In fact, the last tournament she failed to reach the quarters in was in Wuhan. The win over Jankovic was much closer than the scoreline suggested but Radwanska owned the big points – the pair each had ten break points with Radwanska converting six to Jankovic’s three. Jankovic was twice pegged back from a break up in the first set before Radwanska got a crucial hold to 4-3. She then rolled through the final two games of the set.

Jankovic failed to convert on three break points up 2-1 in the second set. The Serb threw in a wobbly game at 3-3, double faulting twice and muttering away to herself. Jankovic saved a trio of match points at the very end, the third on arguably the point of the match, but Radwanska sealed the win in one hour and 21 minutes.

Head-to-head record: Kvitova leads Radwanska, 6-3, in their head-to-head. The pair have split their last four matches with Kvitova winning at the WTA Championships in Istanbul (6-4 6-4, 2013) and New Haven (7-5 6-4, 2015) and Radwanska prevailing at the WTA Championships in Singapore for the last two years, 6-2 6-3 in 2014 and 6-2 4-6 6-3 in 2015.

Interesting Stat(s): Kvitova was 0-3 in three set matches in 2016 but has leveled it up at 3-3 with three consecutive three set wins in Indian Wells. Via @fogmount on Twitter, Radwanska’s win over Jankovic improved her record over the Serb on hard courts to 6-0. A win over Kvitova will see Radwanska rise to world number two in the rankings come Monday.

Final thoughts: This match-up is a tricky one to call. Kvitova’s best is always capable of overwhelming Radwanska… but you just never know what level Kvitova is going to bring to the table. I’m not sure if the surface suits either player, but Kvitova will find it harder to outhit Radwanska in these conditions. While Radwanska has had strapping on her leg all week, she’s had two quite comfortable wins after the brutal second round victory over Cibulkova where she saved a match point. Kvitova’s form has certainly been encouraging this week but for me, it’s a case of head over heart as i’m leaning towards an in-form and mostly consistent Radwanska coming through…

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

11 thoughts on “WTA Indian Wells, Quarter-Final Preview: Agnieszka Radwanska v Petra Kvitova

  1. I feel like that playing three three set matches will go in Petra’s favor. However, Radwanska is a very different player. Not sure, however, I do think if Radwanska is having a good day then she will be very difficult to beat.
    Yesterday against Jankovic Radwanka played a terrible first game, her serve toss was a disaster so was her movement and ball striking. Jankovic played terrific on match points, she just didnt have confidence and mentally lacked.

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    • I agree, playing all those three setters should favour Petra, particularly after the start she has had to the year. I felt Jankovic was much closer to Radwanska than the scoreline suggested but as you say, mentally not as strong, as Radwanska won the key points. Since writing my preview, i’m swaying with who I think will win! A lot depends on Petra, as it so often does with the nature of her game. She’ll have to improve to beat Radwanska but has shown before in convincing manner that she can raise her level in the latter stages of tournaments.

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  2. I agree with James here, it all depends on what Petra does in this match. Petra at her best is too strong for Aga (as she showed in Dubai in 2013 for example), but Aga’s at or very near her best at the moment whereas Petra so far hasn’t been.

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  3. “Radwanska prevailing at the WTA Championships in Singapore for the last two years, 6-2 6-3 in 2014 and 6-2 4-6 6-3 in 2014.” needs correction!

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  4. Just finished watching the match, that net cord moment in the 2nd set tiebreak was such a deja vu moment. Actually there were quite a few deja vu moments in this match when I look back at their Singapore final last year. Very happy with Radwanska’s win. However, I feel that neither player played well, in the first set Petra just wasnt there she looked nervous to an extent that she looked scared of Radwanska.
    Radwanska got tight a few times in the second set, however Petra got tight in the tie break and Radwanska got focused in the tie break and when I saw focused Radwanska in the tie break I felt that she has a clear chance now. Focused Radwanska is a brick wall.

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    • My deja vu moment was by way of her comeback against Cibulkova. Once Petra started wobbling, I saw Cibulkova all over again. It’s when she got focused, right there, and it wasn’t as if Petra was playing through her to begin with. She can be annoying to tackle on your best day, so imagine when your nerves are shot or they start to fray. An Interesting match-up may lie ahead for her now.

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  5. Aga deserves credit for playing what was clearly a focused and tight match; but unfortunately for Petra, at the moment she can’t seem to raise her level and play her best tennis when it matters, as she did in Wimbledon two years ago and in Madrid last year. I hope this is only temporary because peak Petra really is something to behold.

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    • Aga was solid, not a great performance but did well to get it done in straight sets. Her level dipped midway in the second set but she brought it back towards the end and played a handful of wonderful points. I’m not worried about Petra, I think she had a good week overall. She’s never had the best results in IW or Miami. Not expecting much with Miami due to the humidity (as it affects her asthma) and clay’s tricky although she has done well in Stuttgart and Madrid on faster surfaces. Hopefully she can produce some solid results and be in some kind of form before grass!

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