2020 French Open, Day 9 Highlights: Kvitova’s sweet return to the quarter-finals of Roland Garros

The quarter-finals at the 2020 French Open are nearly all set. The last of the fourth rounders between Ons Jabeur and Danielle Collins has been pushed to tomorrow due to the rain. The two remaining seeds in the bottom half of the draw, Petra Kvitova and Sofia Kenin, avoided the cull to book their places in the last eight. This post features reviews of their wins on Monday. There’s also a look ahead to Tuesday’s quarter-finals.

Kvitova’s sweet return to the quarter-finals of Roland Garros

So I didn’t have anything to worry about with Petra. In the first match of the day, Petra Kvitova booked her place in a first Roland Garros quarter-final since 2012 as she beat Zhang Shuai, 6-2 6-4. I thought this was a bit of a dangerous match-up because Zhang has scored a pair of wins over Kvitova and she’s well known for being a bit of a seed-slayer at the Slams and lethal when riding a wave of momentum. Zhang didn’t seem 100% in this match as she took a medical time-out for a leg/hip issue and did struggle at times to move effectively out wide.

Kvitova played a great match. The serve was a pillar of strength to which she managed to build the rest of her game around. Kvitova won a lot more free points on serve compared to Zhang and the lefty serve out wide was very effective. Kvitova’s groundstrokes were sharp and she was moving especially well on the clay (the penultimate point of the match springs to mind). Zhang competed well at the ends of both sets, but never really challenged Kvitova. Zhang kept just missing with her attempts to go down-the-line.

Can we talk about Petra’s reaction on match point? The most precious GIF of the tournament so far. Certainly no easy matches left in this draw and on her least favourite surface but, via Tennis Abstract, Kvitova has a 7-0 combined record against the remaining players in the bottom half of the draw. Watch out for the Petra 👀.

Kenin snaps Ferro’s win streak

Snapping Fiona Ferro’s win streak at eight, Sofia Kenin rebounded from losing the first set to win 12 of the last 15 games and win, 2-6 6-2 6-1. Kenin had points for a double break lead in the first set after a quick start. Ferro saved those break points and went onto win six straight games. One thing I noted in the first set was Ferro’s superior movement on the clay. She tracked down balls into the corner and went on the attack, hitting down-the-line with intent. Kenin went away fast with a string of loose errors.

The American player came thundering back in the final two sets. Kenin started hitting her groundstrokes with more panache and was redirecting the ball beautifully. Kenin began to dictate and dominate the rallies as Ferro faded. Kenin was simply irresistable in the third set (17 winners to 4 unforced errors) as she tore into Ferro’s serve and mixed aggressive, precise striking with some well disguised drop shots.

Just a reminder – Kenin’s last match before coming into the French Open was a 0-6 0-6 loss to Victoria Azarenka. Granted, Kenin’s draw has been favourable but you can only beat who is in front of you. She’s toughed out three of her four matches in three sets. I think Kenin is one of the most resilient players on tour. I know she can divide the crowd but I personally like Kenin. She makes me laugh when she gets down on herself, often when she’s winning comfortably. A true perfectionist!

Best of the rest 🎾

Winning 10 of the last 12 games, Laura Siegemund beat Paula Badosa, 7-5 6-2, to advance to her first ever Slam quarter-final! It feels fitting that she’s done it on clay where she’s had her most successful moments on the tour.

The final fourth rounder between Ons Jabeur and Danielle Collins briefly made it onto court but was eventually cancelled after a soggy afternoon in Paris. The pair will return first thing on Chatrier on Tuesday morning.

H&H 🤗

Handshakes and hugs has been rather defunct in the midsts of a pandemic. The Kvitova-Zhang exchange at the net was lovely though! Glad to see them stick to the racquet tap. What is wrong with some of the men who keep touching?! 🤨

Recommended media 📺

Kvitova explained in press why this win meant so much to her ❤ .

Day 10 watchlist 📺

Elina Svitolina vs. Nadia Podoroska: This will be Podoroska’s first ever match against a top 10 player. Svitolina obviously the big, big favourite with so much more experience at this stage of a Slam and playing on the big courts. Learning even more so this week to expect the unexpected… but i’ll be shocked if Svitolina doesn’t win this.

Iga Swiatek vs. Martina Trevisan: Swiatek and Trevisan are 1-1 in their H2H. Trevisan won on the clay in a $25K ITF in Warsaw in 2017 and Swiatek won their most recent meeting in Birmingham last year, 6-3 6-4. Swiatek *should* prevail and has been in fantastic form, beating a range of different game styles (Vondrousova, Hsieh, Bouchard & Halep) for the loss of just 16 games through four matches. It will be interesting to see whether Swiatek has any kind of hangover from the biggest win of her career. She’s the heavy favourite in her first Slam QF which is a very different position to be in compared to her last match against Halep.

Follow Moo’s Tennis Blog on Twitter and Facebook. Feature photo by Omar Boraby Photography.

4 thoughts on “2020 French Open, Day 9 Highlights: Kvitova’s sweet return to the quarter-finals of Roland Garros

  1. Kenin was my only American based player I picked to make the quarters. Glad she’s working out a winning formula to push herself through. Her US tour run was fairly poor, but if there is a player who will push herself to set right a sinking ship, I feel Kenin is one. She does play well on the European swing of the tour as well. Collins’ run has been interesting.

    I was thinking the Us Open ‘bubble’ will favour american players whiles the French ‘bubble’ will favour Europe based players. However, the European top seeds weren’t in that great of a form coming in so I was ready for upsets. But, Trevisan’s progress and Halep’s early loss I didn’t account for. I expected Halep to make at least the semis before any surprise. I didn’t have her winning it though.

    Still, would have loved to see Ashe Barty take part but respect her wishes.
    🙂 Podoroska for the win so I don’t jinx a certain someone. Hoping to see more of Fiona Ferro in the future as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think Kenin has done well post-AO. Never easy, particularly as that first Slam came out of the blue. I miss Barty actually, she’s one of my favourites these days. I respect her decision. I didn’t know too much about Ferro before Palermo but she’s been a revelation. A lot of her assets in her game and seems sustainable so tend to think she will keep rising.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I think Kenin has had it rough, what with the lockdown coming so soon after her Slam win. I also think people have been even harder on her than they have on other first-time Slam winners, probably because of her demeanor on court. I have a friend who absolutely hates her because of it, which is daft because I’ve heard that she’s a complete sweetheart on the tour…

        Liked by 1 person

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