Set Points, Wuhan Day 4: Kvitova v Kerber was a stunner, Petra prevails for best win of 2016

Set Points

The highlight of Wednesday’s schedule was a match-of-the-year contender between Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova that lasted three hours and 20 minutes. Petra prevailed for the best win of her year, 6-7(10) 7-5 6-4. I watched the first set during my lunch break which turned into a long one! Kvitova should have edged a brutal opening set, but couldn’t take advantage of four set points.

There were some incredible games with the highlight in the third set at 4-3 where Kvitova saved seven break points. I was losing it just following on live scores. The pair played a 41 shot rally… PETRA AND 41 SHOTS WOW! The Czech player then needed seven match points to finally see off Kerber in a dramatic final game.

I’m absolutely thrilled for Petra after the year she’s had. Recent results have definitely been more encouraging and the result validates this. Kvitova, if she can move tomorrow, will play Johanna Konta in the quarter-finals. The Brit saved six set points in the second set against Carla Suárez Navarro in a superb 7-5 7-6(6) victory. I still think Konta doesn’t get the credit she deserves and this was another glowing example of her mental toughness.

Based on the efforts of Kvitova, i’d have to go for Konta in straights in their quarter-final. Even fully recharged, I think this is a tough match for Kvitova. There seems to be some Petra fans about who have already made their feelings clear in the poll which went up on the predictions page earlier today.


In very windy conditions (and before the rain came), Madison Keys battled through to the quarter-finals with a 6-1 4-6 6-4 victory over Daria Kasatkina. Keys sailed through the opener, dropping just 11 points. However, Kasatkina came back in the second set with an early break. Keys was so aggressive and coming into the net to close points but was becoming increasingly error-strewn.

Keys backed off, which worked for a time as Kasatkina began to commit a stream of errors. After a series of breaks, Kasatkina had a gutsy hold at 4-4, saving four break points and closing the game with a couple of superb points – when she puts it all together with some aggressive intent, Kasatkina’s game is glorious to watch. Kasatkina broke to force a decider.

Keys was noticeably more careful and measured in the decider and managed the wind well to go up a double break to lead *5-2. Keys lost her way again though with a series of wild and mis-timed shots… the wind made it a frustrating match for both. At the second time of asking, Keys served out the match to 15.

Keys will play Simona Halep in the quarter-finals after the Romanian player eased past Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-3 6-3, thanks to a superb serving display. Halep won 84% of first serve points and 60% of second serve points as she not only defeated Shvedova for the first time in her career but also reached the quarter-finals in Wuhan for the first time.

It will be the third time in as many months that Halep and Keys play each other on the tour. During 2016, this has been the type of match-up that has regularly flummoxed Keys. Their last match in Montreal was an absolute shocker, but Halep came through to win the title with a decent second set showing. I’d take Halep again in their Wuhan quarter-final in three sets. I’m not sure Keys can keep the errors down to rival Halep but we’ll see…


The third of the quarter-finals will feature Agnieszka Radwanska and Svetlana Kuznetsova after both players won their third round matches in straight sets. Radwanska exacted revenge on a knackered Caroline Wozniacki with a 6-4 6-2 victory. Radwanska let slip a 4-0 lead in the first set but won the final two games and was then on her way. Kuznetsova dropped just four games to a poor serving and very erratic, Venus Williams, 6-2 6-2.

Kuznetsova leads Radwanska, 11-4 in their head-to-head although Radwanska won their last match-up on the WTA tour in Madrid in 2015, 6-3 4-6 7-6(6). I didn’t watch either of their matches today so it’s difficult for me to make a fair judgement on this match. My instinct is Kuznetsova might nick this one. It could be a cracker…


Two third round matches were left over from Wednesday’s order of play when the rain arrived. Jelena Jankovic v Barbora Strycova and Karolina Pliskova v Dominika Cibulkova will be played simultaneously on Centre and Court 1 at 11.30am local time in Wuhan. It will be a tough ask for the two winners who will have to play two matches on Friday.


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12 thoughts on “Set Points, Wuhan Day 4: Kvitova v Kerber was a stunner, Petra prevails for best win of 2016

  1. I’m rooting for Kuznetsova to extend her tally against Aga. It’s amazing that they’ve barely played in the last five years! 3 of Radwanska’s 4 wins against Sveta came in her breakthrough year of 2008.


  2. ” Kvitova, if she can move tomorrow, will play Johanna Konta in the quarter-finals. ”

    That’s my feeling (and fear) too. A match such as the one Petra played today is almost bound to take it out of her, but still we’ll see how well she can cope tomorrow with what promises to be a tough challenge. A superb win for her today though.

    I also agree that Jo Konta doesn’t get the credit she deserves. She’s curiously unloved as a player, maybe because although she’s British now she didn’t spend her earliest years in the country she now lives in and represents (but nor did Daria Gavrilova, and yet the Aussies seem to have taken her to their hearts).


    • I really hope that Petra is able to move 😀 Not that I dislike Konta, but I’d love to see Petra gaining some more confidence. I don’t know why but Singapore without her feels strange… Has she any chances to qualify? She is somewhere around 20 in the ranking?


      • If she were to win a couple matches here, win the title in Beijing and make a good run in another event then she would have a chance at qualifying. But that would depend on how others also perform. There’s hardly anything between Keys at #7 and Kuznetsova at #11 in the Race. They all have the chance to qualify with a big run in the next few weeks .

        Kvitova not making the year ends does seem strange. But it’s sort of fitting that Pliskova has, since she’s arguably been the better player the past couple years.


      • True but it still feels weird. I want her to be a force in the TOP 10 once again. At least she has the chance to go to Zhuhai and earn 700 (?) points 😛


      • It does feel strange not having Kvitova at Singapore. I mean her and Radwanska have been the only ones who have qualified for the last 5 years and have played at least once in all those 5 years.
        It looks like Kvitova is actually starting to play great tennis again!


  3. We all know Petra’s had mononucleosis to deal with, but apart from that I wonder if she suffers from having peaked so early.

    At her Wimbledon final in 2014 she played probably the best tennis and the best match she’ll ever play, to take the title – and once you’ve done that, what do you do next? Compare her with Aga Radwanska, who has yet to win a slam and is hungry for her first slam win; she’s got a goal which motivates her every day.

    I’m guessing that it’s harder for Petra to find that same motivation now, though she still gets motivated when she’s playing for her country, as she showed at the Olympics and has done in Fed Cup matches.


    • I think she’s just generally too nice and doesn’t quite have enough of a killer instinct. Her career has been remarkably similar to Svetlana Kuznetsova, really. She was hyped at a young age, won a Slam fairly early on, then really struggled with confidence and consistency. Won another Slam and looked set to be a real contender, but never quite managed to be.


  4. Since you mentioned Sveta, Andrew, maybe she was overhyped when she was young but she’s doing well at the moment with yet another win over Aga (bringing the H2H to 12-4 in Sveta’s favour) Aga really struggles to beat Sveta for some reason.

    Sveta’s 31 now and clearly still has plenty of good tennis in her. She’s back in the top 10 and looks to me like she could qualify for Singapore if she keeps this up.


    • I’m not a Kuznetsova hater. If you rewind back to the end of last year, I predicted her to go back to the top ten. And I’ve never considered her ‘overhyped’. If anything, the exact opposite.
      But even she herself will admit that she’s never fulfilled her potential. She’s by far the most technically sound player that the WTA has. The reason she has such a great record against Aga is because she does nearly everything that little bit better, plus she has the added bonus of having real firepower and a strong serve.

      I saw the first two sets and she started really quite horribly. She didn’t seem to have a clear gameplan, but at some point managed to realize that Aga was struggling against high bouncing balls hit with spin.


      • Good post Andrew. You obviously know more about Sveta than I do but I remember that she was interviewed at about the time she made it to the final in Madrid last year and was asked her view of British tennis. She was evidently unimpressed by the way we train our players; compared to Russia, she said, the training sessions she saw were like a “holiday camp.”

        I’m going to take more notice of her from now on and may look up some of her matches on Youtube.

        (P.S. This is also me, Graham Giles. It would take too long to explain why I ended up posting under two names on here, but Liskerrett Working In Wood was a project set up just over four years ago to help a local group of handicapped and learning disabled people to work as woodworkers and to earn money, and I did their website for them as part of a class I was doing in WordPress. The last I heard, they were still going.)


      • I followed Kuznetsova since her first Quarter Final run at Wimbledon wayyy back when. She’s my second favourite player after Serena, though her seeming lack of drive and poor consistency has made it hard over the years.
        Interesting fact, Svetlana is Roger Federer’s favourite women’s tennis player. 🙂


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