The finals of Sydney and Hobart were played on Saturday and attention now switches to the Australian Open with play set to on Monday. It’s been an exciting day for me as I have just bought a house and got the keys last night! I’m hoping to move in at the start of February so lots to sort out before then. I’m looking forward to a stress-relieving distraction in the Australian Open. I’ll definitely be more active on the blog during last year’s AO but I may disappear at times. Read on for 4 stories in Saturday’s Set Points.
Kvitova d. Barty to win Sydney
The WTA finals in 2019 have been lit so far 🔥. Petra Kvitova beat Ashleigh Barty in Saturday’s rollercoaster Sydney final, 1-6 7-5 7-6(3) in two hours and 19 minutes. It’s a difficult match to analyse concisely because so much happened and there were many changes in momentum.
Kvitova made a very slow start and was leaking errors all over the shop in the first set. This wasn’t a huge surprise considering her late finish on Friday night and because her last three matches all took place at night. Barty was rolling along nicely, playing solid consistent tennis, as she had done for the first four matches in Sydney.
It had been a rather drab match up until 3-3 in the second set when Kvitova really began to make an impression as she found her rhythm on the backhand side and started to crunch winners. The pair began to engage in rallies which were rare based on the first set and a half! Kvitova, who was playing catch-up in the scoreline, had a couple of tough holds. The hold at *4-5 felt like a pivotal one. Barty had been very solid on serve but something seemed to change at 5-5 as it seemed very apparent that Kvitova was not going away. The Czech player swept through the final few games to level up at one all.
Barty and Kvitova exchanged three game streaks early on in the decider before Kvitova twice brought up opportunities to serve out the match. I thought the quality was fantastic from the middle of the second set to the middle of the third set. Things definitely got a bit tense towards the end. Barty played two poor service games at 4-4 and 5-5, while Kvitova began to look visibly tired and kept hunching over on her leg. After hitting two double faults in a row that saw the third set extend to the tiebreak, Kvitova managed to stay aggressive and mostly find the court, overwhelming Barty in the end to secure her first title of the season.
Kvitova & Barty outlooks for the AO
It was a fantastic week for Kvitova and she’s already off to a fast start with an early title. I am concerned about recovery for Melbourne though as she’s set to play on Monday and it is supposed be a hot day. Even with this form, I sadly have my doubts that Petra can translate this form to a Slam. I would love to be proved wrong.
I think Barty could be a Slam winner in the future. However, I don’t think she’s ready yet. The Aussie is definitely moving in the right direction and I would fancy her to produce her best run at a Slam in Melbourne. Not a title contender in my opinion but again, would love to be proved wrong. I have great admiration for Petra and Ash, and they are two of my favourite players so hope to see them both make at least the second week of Melbs.
Kenin wins Hobart
Over in Hobart, Sofia Kenin won her first title with a 6-3 6-0 victory in the final over Anna Karolina Schemiedlova. Kenin saved eight of nine break points and once again showcased her impressive mentality. I thought Kenin would crack the world’s top 30 in 2019. She’s already not far off doing that within the first two weeks of the new season! Definitely one to watch.
Australian Open draw
I’m about to sit down with the women’s draw for the first time and make my picks. This is always one of my favourite tennis moments of the year. I try to make snappy decisions but then I start thinking and deliberating, and it generally turns into a mess. Pre-draw my top four picks are S.Williams, Kerber, Muguruza and Sabalenka. I’ll try and post some thoughts today/tomorrow! Also hoping to debut an updated Set Points post but will see how I feel come Monday.