At the start of the 2015 season, rising star Timea Bacsinszky toppled Petra Kvitova in the semi-final round of the Shenzhen Open. It was a lopsided affair that surprised the vast majority of those watching. Now, months later, the two will step across the net from each other once again, this time to determine who will advance to the quarter-final round of the French Open. Overall, Bacsinszky leads the head-to-head series 1-0.
Seeded fourth at this year’s Roland Garros event, Petra Kvitova differed from her standard pattern this week in Paris when she defeated Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets to secure her spot in the fourth round. She struck 18 winners and didn’t face a single break point on serve to close out the match 6-3, 6-2.
“I think it was for sure the best match that I’ve played here so far,” Kvitova said afterwards. “It’s the third round, which I didn’t pass here last year, so I was really motivated by it. I’m really glad I’m through.
“And I will try to start playing even better, because the opponents are only going to get tougher.”
Instead of a rematch against Madison Keys, Kvitova will come up against Bacsinszky, who toppled Keys in straight sets to earn her place in the fourth round. Key’s own error count was partly responsible for her 6-4, 6-2 loss.
“I’ve played both of them this year, actually,” Kvitova said. “I played Bacsinszky in Shenzhen and I lost. She’s playing really well here – I think these courts suit her game, and she’s really improved as well, so I really have to think about that match we played in Shenzhen and try to play better than I did there.”
This is just the second time that these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with Tomea leading the head-to-head series 1-0. Her win came at the start of the season in Shenzhen, yet she will now encounter an entirely different Kvitova on clay.
Prediction: Petra Kvitova in There Sets