Olympics: Kvitova Sets Up a QF with Maria Kirilenko

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In a surprisingly straightforward match, Petra Kvitova defeated Italy’s Flavia Pennetta, 6-3 6-0 to reach the QFs, where she will face Maria Kirilenko of Russia.

Kvitova won the first set by going up an early break.  The former Wimbledon Champion and 2011’s WTA Player of the Year has a hard-hitting game and a deft touch at the net — at her best, she can reach a zone where she is almost unplayable.  However, the problem of balancing such a low-margin game with more consistency has proved to be a troublesome area for Kvitova.  To her credit, Kvitova has reached two SFs and a QF at the first three Grand Slams of the year.

Whereas Kvitova had been inconsistent in her early-round wins over Katernya Bondarenko and Shuai Peng, having been taken to third sets in both matches, she was able to take control and cruise to an easy victory over the veteran Pennetta.  She took the second set and the match on a bagel.

Kvitova hit a total of 30 winners to 11 UFEs, compared to Pennetta’s 11 winners and 5 errors — that is the most telling stat from this match, which showed Kvitova imposing her game and the hard-hitting angles she is able to create through her weight of shots.  Kvitova’s willingness to come to the net was also a major factor in her win, as she was able to use the lower-bouncing grass surface to her advantage.

That Kvitova reached the QF in her Olympics debut is a strong showing for the Czech, especially given how her other celebrated compatriots (Tomas Berdych) lost in the early rounds.  However, Kvitova faces a potentially tricky opponent in Kirilenko, who actually leads their H2H 3-2.  However, Kvitova has won the last two matches they played, at the Australian Open in R4 and at the 2011 Fed Cup final.

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