With the top half of the women’s draw now missing Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, there will be an opportunity for a new champion from the top half. The favourite to make it to the final will be World No.1 but last year’s losing finalist Petra Kvitova can not be written off. She plays Maria Sakkari for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Kvitova remains an incredibly dangerous prospect at her best but her consistency has often been an issue at the biggest tournaments. She does look impressive so far this fortnight though with her round three victory against an in-form Ekaterina Alexandrova coming in just under an hour, hitting 18 winners to just 10 errors in the 6-1 6-2 win over the Russian. “I think the key was the first two games, where I held serve after, I don’t know, seven, eight minutes. Then I broke her. It was the nice beginning of me, for sure.” she said of the match. “From then, I felt good and I played pretty aggressively. I knew that I have to play like this, going through the first shot. She likes to play the same game as me. I was just trying to be the first who put the pressure on her.”
Sakkari secured her first round four at a slam with a shock win over Madison Keys in the previous round, taking advantage of an error strewn performance from the American. Keys hit 40 unforced errors in the 6-4 6-4 win for the Greek, who showed great nerve to come back from a break down in the second set. She will take a lot of confidence in this victory with Keys playing a similarly aggressive, low margin game to Kvitova.
While Sakkari does lead the head to head 2-1, Kvitova will go into this one as a strong favourite. The Czech’s record had in slams since her return from injury had left a lot to be desired until last year but her Melbourne run should give her good cause to believe she can go all the way here.
Prediction – Petra Kvitova in three sets