Karolina Pliskova may well have been the best hope of a title for the Czechs in this year’s US Open but her early exit means that all eyes turn to Petra Kvitova, who all of a sudden should make the quarter finals in a tournament she has often struggled at. Jessica Pegula awaits in round three with one of Shelby Rogers and Madison Brengle for the winner. The pair saw off Elena Rybakina and Dayana Yastremska respectively, two players that will have been many’s outside pick for the tournament.
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Pegula has continued the good form she displayed at the Western & Southern Open with two three set wins over Marie Bouzkova and Kirsten Flipkens to get this far. She was a quarter finalist last week, with impressive wins over Jennifer Brady, Amanda Anisimova and Aryna Sabalenka in the main draw. The American should hit a career high and move inside the top 50 sooner rather than later, having made it to the third round of a slam for the first time.
Kvitova fought well to see off Kateryna Kozlova in round two, saving a set point in the opening set of her 7-6 6-2 victory. She was in control after the nervy opener and pulled away with an early break in the second, sealed with one of the 33 winners she hit in the match. “In the first set, it was kind of tough,” Kvitova said, during her post-match press conference. “I was really fighting a little bit the opponent, but with myself as well. There was a lot of nerves over there. I lost my serve and I was still down, and I still tried to come back and answer.”
Kvitova has to be considered the favourite in this one but takes on an improving opponent in confident form. Pegula has already shown she can keep up with ultra aggressive players so is one to watch out for, especially if the Czech starts slow.
Prediction – Petra Kvitova in three sets