Caroline Wozniacki vs. Petra Kvitova: WTA Beijing, 3rd Round Preview

The line-up of third round matches for the 2017 China Open is so awesome that it has stirred me out my preview slumber! Thursday’s match of the day will see an all-seeded clash between the number five seed, Caroline Wozniacki and the number 12 seed, Petra Kvitova. This will be the pair’s first clash since the Olympics last year.

Wozniacki has shown flashes of brilliance during her first two rounds in Beijing, dismissing the early loss from Wuhan and carrying in the same vein of form from her terrific title run in Tokyo. The Dane began her tournament with one of her best sets of the year against Wang Qiang. Perhaps slightly under the weather, Wozniacki needed three sets to see off Wang in the end with a breadstick sandwich, 6-1 6-7(4) 6-1. In the second round, Wozniacki was at her clinical best to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets for second time in two weeks, 6-2 6-2.

The key stat in the Woz-Pavs match was on break point conversions with both carving out eight opportunities – Wozniacki converted on four, while Pavlyuchenkova didn’t take one. The first set was routine as you like with Wozniacki showing off an aggressive streak and a desire to come forward and close points at the net. The second set, while the same scoreline, was much closer, yet Pavlyuchenkova just couldn’t convert on her chances. Wozniacki served well under pressure although it did feel like Pavlyuchenkova could have done more and forced more returns into play.

Kvitova has rebounded well after a first round exit in Wuhan with two comfortable straight set wins over Kristyna Pliskova (6-3 7-5) and Varvara Lepchenko (6-4 6-4). While the first serve percentage has been a bit on the low side (average of 55%), Kvitova has dominated when she has got the first serve in (87.5% of first serve points won). In the win against Lepchenko there were a few dicey moments, yet Kvitova raised her level at the ends of both sets and served them both out to love for an eighth consecutive win over the American player.

Head-to-head record: Kvitova leads Wozniacki, 6-5 in their head-to-head and has won their last two matches. In their most recent encounter, Kvitova beat Wozniacki on the slow hard courts of Rio, 6-2 6-4.

Interesting stats: Wozniacki has won 55 matches in 2017, already her best tally since 2011, and she has prevailed in 14 of her last 16 three set matches. For Kvitova, she’s won just one of her last five three set matches. However, she’s a big threat to the best on tour with 44 top ten wins in her career.

Final thoughts: I’m more fascinated by this match-up than usual to see whether Wozniacki can deliver the aggressive streak that has characterised her game in recent weeks through Tokyo and the first few rounds of Beijing. Kvitova is the type of player that can force Wozniacki to go into her shell. I am intrigued to see whether the Dane retreats or is able to build on the confidence from recent performances and stay aggressive.

Based on recent form, Wozniacki wins this hands down. Kvitova though, as proven by her win over Garbiñe Muguruza at the US Open, has demonstrated that sometimes you can chuck the form book out the window. Petra seems calm and relaxed in Beijing, and if she serves well then this could well go down to the wire.

The words ringing through my head… never write off Petra!

Photo in this post by Omar Boraby Photography

13 thoughts on “Caroline Wozniacki vs. Petra Kvitova: WTA Beijing, 3rd Round Preview

  1. Before the match I’m going with Kasatkina to beat Radwanska, after the match I may switch my prediction.

    Halep beats Sharapova (6-2,6-2)– Halep only had 1, count’em 1, UFE in the first set. Halep had a 74% first serve rate, giving Pova very few chances to Smashpova her second serve. Ziggy and the bookies thought Pova would win.

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      • Yeah I thought it was a mistake for Svitolina not playing a smaller event on the Asian swing, but she’s been surprisingly quick to find good form this week. I’d be surprised if Vesnina could snag an upset (never say never). I could definitely see a Halep vs Svitolina final.

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    • Shot of the day–Not a tweener for a weener, but close. The Rad chased down a lob and hit a forehand winner within inches of the line with her back to the court.

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      • Great, but she still lost – that’s the trouble. She no longer seems to have an advantage over younger and less experienced players (she’s got eight years on Dasha).

        If I was Tom Wiktorowski right now I’d be thanking my lucky stars I still had a player (unlike most now) who was loyal enough to me that I could keep my job.

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      • On the WTA shot of the day, the Halep Gang is stuffing the ballot box. Vote for Radwanska’s no look forehand for shot of the day.

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  2. I really hope Garcia vs Cornet delivers on the drama front. Their last match was the epitome of tense, with Caroline completely overpowering Alize. Cornet slammed Caro after the match for the ‘coldest kiss of her life’ at the net. She did try to backtrack afterwards, but I suspect only as damage control because of the negative comments that flooded in.

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      • Well Cornet and Mladenovic were undeniably bullying Garcia over her pulling out of Fed Cup. There’s no other way you could interpret them tweeting LOL, or the comments that they made in the press.
        To me you could see in the way Caroline played her at the French that she really wanted revenge on some body who had hurt her.

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  3. Ka Plis vs Cirstea— Karolina first serve was in only 44% of the time, and when she did get the first serve in she only had a 50% win ratio. When Karolina’s serve isn’t working Karolina becomes Kristyna.

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