WTA Birmingham, 2nd Round Preview for Thursday: Petra Kvitova v Jelena Ostapenko

Kvitova

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.

Photo in this post by mootennis.com

11 thoughts on “WTA Birmingham, 2nd Round Preview for Thursday: Petra Kvitova v Jelena Ostapenko

  1. Whats the story behind Ostapenko having a reputation?

    Funnily enough I was skimming through a tennis website thread about players with reputations for being difficult or not well liked by colleagues on tour and one name I was surprised to see was Laura Siegemund. Bearing in mind these posts were dated a few years ago now, but I wasn’t really aware of negative feelings towards her really…

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    • There was the tweet from Mladenovic last Wimbledon about a handshake. Also the whole situation with Broady in Auckland. Nothing much seemed to happen in the Pavs-Ostapenko match so it seemed strange that Pavs wouldn’t shake hands at the end, you don’t see that happen much. You get the sense that she’s not popular among some players! Yes, to be honest that doesn’t surprise me about Siegemund. I’ve noticed a few players annoyed at some of her on-court antics. Lucic-Baroni didn’t shake her hand after their match in Madrid.

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      • I don’t really know a whole lot about Siegemund but her reactions in the latter stages of Madrid seemed very grateful and…sweet.
        Its a shame when you hear stories like that. A lot of the tour nowadays have such great relationships with each other. It’s very cute seeing women like Kerber, Ivanovic, Serena and Wozniacki enjoy their company so much.

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  2. How does Ostapenko go through a whole set without being broken with a first serve percentage of 47…. against a Wimbledon champ. Kvitova is such garbage

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    • Yeap, her mental frailty will be the death of her. Although it was a senior wimbledon champ against a junior wimbledon champ. They both love the green grass, but OStapenko seems to love it more and was determined. This is why all talent is useless without that mental strength and motivation. Some talent with sometime mental motivation will likely get you much further than that ever would.
      As Frank said, it’s over for Kvitova, Wozniacki, and Ivanovic..lol

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      • Although Ivanovic is playing absolutely beautifully this evening! It’s just the slightest resistance and she crumbles…

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      • I think all the more established players, and Petra is one now, are facing the challenge of the younger ones. For Petra it seems to be Jelena Ostapenko who causes her problems, for Aga Radwanska it’s Belinda Bencic (who beat her in the final at Eastbourne last year).

        What’s so frustrating about Petra is to see how good she can be when she plays her best tennis; the Wimbledon final against Genie Bouchard two years ago is the obvious example, but the year before, at Dubai, she made Aga look like a high school player especially in the first set (it’s still on Youtube). I think it was Steve Tignor at Tennis.com who said that Petra has the highest ceiling and the lowest floor to her game on tour, and he wasn’t far wrong.

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      • I think its pretty difficult to overlook Serena for the highest ceiling. When she’s really at her best everything in her game is effortlessly brutal! That one win from Petra in Madrid doesn’t take that away in my opinion.

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  3. You may be right Andrew. Serena at last year’s final in Miami (when she beat Carla 6-2, 6-0), was pretty much unbeatable;

    Another contender match for “peak Serena” IMO would be when she beat Maria in the Olympic final in 2012 for the loss of just one game.

    I’m probably biased where Petra is concerned because it was that match of hers against Genie which sparked my interest in following women’s tennis (also, the village I live in got fast broadband so it became possible to watch matches online).

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