Petra Kvitova and Jelena Ostapenko are set to meet in the second round of the Aegon Classic on Thursday… that’s if the weather holds up!
The return of Petra to grass is always an exciting sight and she began the 2016 grass court season in style. In one of the blockbuster first round match-ups in Birmingham, Kvitova took on fellow compatriot, Lucie Safarova, and comfortably came through for her ninth consecutive victory, 6-3 6-2. Kvitova was sharp on return and faced just one break point in the 68-minute contest. Her lefty serve always become more of a weapon on the grass. Please draw gods, no more Petra v Lucie matches. I can’t take it anymore!
Kvitova will be out for revenge when she steps up to play Jelena Ostapenko. The 19-year-old Latvian player is up 41 ranking places since the end of 2015 and that is largely thanks to a run to the final in Doha where she defeated Kvitova along the way. Since then, her results have been rather spotty with a couple of decent showings in Katowice (semi-finals) and Rome (3rd round). In the first round of Birmingham, Ostapenko fought back from 3-5 down in the first set to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 7-6(2) 6-1.
I only started watching from 3-5 in the first set but I was impressed by Ostapenko. Her game seems to suit the grass and she caused Pavlyuchenkova all sorts of trouble with her depth, rushing the Russian player into mistakes. The second set went by rather quickly, as did the post-match handshake as Pavlyuchenkova was having none of it… a little disappointing to see, but a reminder that Ostapenko does have a reputation on tour!
Head-to-head record: In their only previous match, Ostapenko came from a set down to beat Kvitova in Doha, 5-7 6-2 6-1.
Interesting stat: Kvitova and Ostapenko have similar records in 2016; both players have won 14 matches in 2016 but Kvitova’s record is a tad better at 14-12 compared to Ostapenko’s 14-14.
Final thoughts: Kvitova on grass is a match made in heaven but that doesn’t automatically mean that she’s going to waltz her way through this match, particularly after her superb performance in round one. Ostapenko’s deep groundstrokes are lethal on this surface (when they find the court!) and the Latvian player already has a win over Kvitova. I’d put an upset alert on this match as I think Ostapenko can be a real handful. As is often the case, a lot will depend on Kvitova’s level… a similar performance to her first round win over Safarova and she will likely prevail. If the serve isn’t firing then it could be very close match.