Despite clay being her worst surface, Petra Kvitova is just two matches from an unlikely French Open title. She first must defeat Sofia Kenin, who is seeking her second slam of the year having won the Australian Open at the start of the year. The winner of this one will play an unseeded player in Iga Swiatek or Nadia Podoroska with the former the favourite to advance there.
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Kvitova is back in the semi final in Paris for the first time since 2012, having suffered countless poor loss at the event in the mean time. Everything has gone well for her to get this far with a wide open draw meaning she did not have to beat a seed to get to the last four. She beat Laura Siegemund 6-3 6-3 in the quarter finals, rarely looking in danger against the German. “I’m proud of everything I did today,” Kvitova said. “Since I woke up, I felt pretty nervous. Going into the match, I knew it would be a big fight for every point. I’m happy with my side, with the mental side, and how I handled the pressure out there.
Kenin outlasted her fellow American Danielle Collins in three sets in their quarter final, getting her first win in the matchup at the fourth time of asking. Kenin hit 38 winners in the 6-4 4-6 6-0 win, showing more consistency than her fading opponent in the deciding set. “I’m super happy. I know she plays really aggressive and I knew I needed to play aggressive myself, have a high first-serve percentage and I think I did that,” she said.
Kvitova’s run to the semi finals has been fairly weak so it is hard to put a true placement on her current level although she has looked strong all fortnight. Kenin will take heart for this encounter from the fact that she saw off the heavy hitting Collins in the previous round, something that should prepare her somewhat for the barrage expected from the Kvitova racquet. Kvitova does lead the head to head 2-0, including a 6-1 6-4 win in Madrid last year.
Prediction – Petra Kvitova in three sets