Petra Kvitova will aim to make her fifth consecutive Wimbledon quarter-final when she takes on Shuai Peng on Monday. Check out the Kvitova vs Peng Head to Head.
Kvitova earned her place in the last 16 by playing like the former Wimbledon champion she is. For two and a half hours on Friday afternoon, she battled Venus Williams in the match of the tournament so far. Both players showed remarkable resilience and determination in a contest that featured only two breaks of serve in 37 games, but it was Kvitova who proved the stronger at the decisive moments. After successfully holding serve to stay in the match from 4-5, 15-30 down in the second set, she won the tie-break and forced a decider. At 6-5 up in the third, she produced some more punishing groundstrokes to draw errors from Venus and seal the win.
Having been forced to produce her best tennis in a knife-edge match, Kvitova is now well-placed to make a deep second week run at the event she loves. Moreover, with Li Na’s exit, her draw opens up nicely. So can she take advantage and challenge for a second Venus Rosewater Dish? Or will she confound us yet again by following up a landmark win with a head-scratching loss?
The good news for Kvitova and her legion of often bemused but devoted fans is that she holds a commanding 4-0 winning record over her fourth round opponent, Shuai Peng. The pair have met on clay, grass and hard courts, but no matter the surface Kvitova’s superior firepower has made the difference.
Of course, we shouldn’t write off the Chinese player’s prospects entirely. Peng is a solid, flat hitter who has been on the Tour for 13 years. She also happens to be one half of the world’s best doubles team, so is comfortable at the net. And although she has fallen from a career high singles ranking of 14 in August 2011 to 61 currently, she has put on a trilogy of steely performances at this year’s Championships, edging Johanna Konta and Lauren Davis in three sets and demolishing Maria Kirilenko 6-0, 6-3.
However, despite Peng’s merits and recent good form, this match is on Kvitova’s racket. She may not be the best mover in the top ten, but she is an adequate defender, as she proved against Venus. She’ll track down as many of Peng’s balls as she can, and use her lefty serve to draw her unseeded opponent out wide before going for the spaces with sharp-angled forehands and backhands. Some, perhaps many, of those will be blasted well past the baseline, but a greater number will scuff the chalk. Burned by losing a golden opportunity win Wimbledon 2013, a focussed and dialled-in Kvitova will wrap this one up in straight sets.