One of the standout matches on the women’s side so far, tournament favourite Ashleigh Barty takes on last year’s losing finalist Petra Kvitova for a spot in the semi-finals. Kvitova might well be considered the favourite for the title should she win this one, especially with a perceived weaker semi-final opponent in Sofia Kenin or Ons Jabeur.
Barty continues to work wonders on the tour and now holds an eight match winning streak heading into the quarter finals. She avenged her Wimbledon loss to Alison Riske by defeating the American in three sets but she had to work hard before Riske double faulted on match point to give Barty the 6-3 1-6 6-4 victory. “Alison is not just a tough opponent for me, she’s a tough opponent for every single girl on the tour,” she said on the match. “She has the ability to adapt her game, to make the opponent uncomfortable. I think she’s got a great tennis brain of problem solving, as well.”
Kvitova got over the hump against Maria Sakkari but needed three sets to see of an opponent she had lost to the last two times they met. She hit 33 winners but 46 unforced errors in the victory, finally taking control of the match after a break for 4-3 in the second set of the 6-7 6-3 6-2 win. The Czech will definitely be relieved to advanced in a match where she was not at her best. “I didn’t feel the best. I was just, you know, too tight and everything was flying somewhere.” she said. “In the end of the day, it was about fighting spirit in a way. Even I didn’t play the best, Maria played really great tennis, and it was nice to share court with her, for sure… I’m so happy that in the end I felt my game again.”
Kvitova will not be able to be so error prone against an opponent who is developing into one of the most complete players on tour, as her substantial lead in the WTA Tour rankings demonstrates. It may take a while for Barty to get going if Kvitova is on her game but she should eventually close it out with the Aussie having the perfect game to frustrate her opponent, especially the longer the match goes.
Prediction – Ashleigh Barty in three sets