Coming off a title victory just a few days before the official start of the Australian Open, Petra Kvitova is undoubtedly one of the players to watch at this event. As a two-time Grand Slam champion, the Czech star will look to earn her first Major championship on hard court, but is faced with a fortnight of challenging obstacles. Her first match-up is against Richel Hogenkamp, whom she has never faced previously on the professional tour.
The Czech No. 1 defeated a slew of opponents, including Shuai Peng, local prospect Gajdosova, defending champion Tsvetlana Pironkova and rising star Pliskova in the final. In that last match, she defeated her fellow countrywoman with a pair of tiebreaks 7-6(5), 7-6(6) to be crowned champion ahead of the Australian Open.
“First of all, great job this week,” Kvitova told Pliskova. “It’s always tough to play a final, and hopefully next time you’re going to win.”
This marked Kvitova’s 15th title on the WTA tour, as she won 1 in 2009, 6 in 2011 (including Wimbledon), 2 in 2012, 2 in 2013 and 3 in 2014 (including another Wimbledon). To add to her accomplishments, 12 of those titles came at the Premier level of higher.
World No. 137 Richel Hogenkamp will begin her Australian Open main draw campaign against Czech No. 1 Petra Kvitova after beating Shahar Peer 6-7(2) 6-3 6-4, Louisa Chirico 6-4 3-6 8-6 and Shuko Aoyama 7-5 5-7 6-3.
This marks the first time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour and is a match that few can see leading to a potential upset. Given Kvitova’s strong start to the season, she will likely ease into the second round of the tournament with little fuss.
Prediction: Petra Kvitova in Straight Sets