In a contest featuring one of the tour’s quirkiest players, Marion Bartoli, and one of the game’s most unpredictable competitors, Petra Kvitova, it should perhaps come as no surprise that the scoreline should be so erratic. Bartoli eventually managed to upset the 2011 Wimbledon champion Kvitova, defeating her 1-6 6-2 6-0.
In a highly-anticipated US Open fourth-round clash on Sunday, Kvitova, the 5th seed, was bidding to reach her fourth grand slam quarter-final of the year. She had lost only one match during the summer hard court season, and was on the short-list of favourites for the title. In contrast, Bartoli has struggled to maintain consistency this year, and was hoping to reach a grand slam quarter-final for the first time in 2012.
The pair had met a few weeks ago in Montreal, with the Czech thrashing the Frenchwoman for the loss of only two games. Yesterday’s match began in a similar fashion, with Kvitova dominating from the back of the court and demonstrating why so many feel she has what it takes to become one of the game’s greats. Her booming serve, smart execution and willingness to go for her shots paid dividends; Bartoli never managed to hold serve throughout the first set.
In the second set, however, Kvitova’s unforced error tally began to mount, and Bartoli took full advantage, playing more steadily and frustrating her left-handed opponent with excellent retrieving. With increased confidence, Bartoli started to go for her shots, whipping winners from both sides. Kvitova held serve only once.
Much like her famous victory over Justine Henin at Wimbledon 2007, Bartoli entered a zone in which she could barely miss. Fist-pumping and jumping on the baseline between points, she gradually wore down the 2011 Wimbledon champion, winning 25 of the 32 points in the third set.
Kvitova will leave Flushing Meadows very disappointed, given her promising form coming into the tournament. Bartoli, on the other hand, will be full of renewed confidence and vigour, and will look to score her first-ever victory over Maria Sharapova in the last 8. If she can produce a similar perforce, she has a good chance of reaching the semi-finals.