Opening day three of the Australian Open on Rod Laver Arena will be last year’s losing finalist, Petra Kvitova. The Czech aims to go one better this time round and will look to ease into the last 32 with a win over Spain’s Paula Badosa.
Badosa was a prominent player on the junior tour and won the Girls French Open title back in 2015, beating Anna Kalinskaya in the final. She plays a fairly aggressive game in comparison to many of her fellow Spaniards but has found it tough to take the next step, having nudged her way into the top 100 recently. In thrashing Johanna Larsson in round one, she finally made it to the second round of a slam having lost three opening rounds last year.
Kvitova remains hard to predict, especially at slams where her consistency during the rest of the season has not transferred aside from a rare few tournaments – including this one last year. At her best though, the Czech is still one of the most dangerous players on tour and she showed that once more with a crushing win over Katerina Siniakova. She needed just over 50 minutes to blast her opponent off court, hitting 20 winners (7 aces) in the 6-1 6-0 victory – delivering a virtual double bagel in the process. “I think, you know, the first game when I was serving helped me a lot,” Kvitova said. “So the serve was kind of key for sure. I felt more free on the returns and playing from the baseline.”
With both players well rested after dropping a single game in their victories, tiredness is not going to be an issue here. Last year’s finalist will be a heavy odds on favourite and when it comes to a battle of aggressive tennis, there can only be one winner here. The in-form Ekaterina Alexandrova seems the likely opponent for the winner of this match with a potential big hitting match with Madison Keys a strong possibility in the fourth round.
Prediction – Petra Kvitova in straight sets