Although Iga Swiatek remains the overwhelming favourite to win the title here, there will be a few more players thinking they could beat the Pole given she looks a bit more vulnerable on grass than other surfaces. Among them will be two-time champion Petra Kvitova, who will be hoping to round into form at just the right time. She will play fourth seed Paula Badosa, who is seeking to make the fourth round for the second year running.
While still winning in straights, Kvitova did spend a lot more time on court than needed against Ana Bogdan. Firing winners from all angles, she was up 6-1 5-1 in her win against the Romanian before falling apart for half an hour. She had to save set points before eventually closing out a tiebreak for the win. “I think it was great match from the beginning until 5-1, 5-2. Suddenly I felt, like, so exhausted from the games I had. I don’t know, it was just tough to describe. I got a little bit tighter and she just went for it a little bit more. She didn’t miss. It was really tough to close it out.” she said.
Ranked as high as No.2, Paula Badosa has not yet had a career defining slam run in her career. The French Open looked like a great opportunity for this only for injury to strike, meaning she could only play (and lose) one warmup match on grass between the two slams. She has disposed of two weak opponents with the minimum of fuss, both of whom are far from comfortable on grass.
Last year’s Wimbledon saw Badosa fight her way to the fourth round before falling to the first strong player she played – Karolina Muchova. While Kvitova’s inconsistency remains frustrating, she is undoubtedly going to be a tough test for the Spaniard if she is anywhere near her best. It may be the case that Kvitova raises her level in response to a tougher opponent but she may not be able to get away with the level displayed at some parts of Paolini and Bogdan wins.
Prediction – Petra Kvitova in straight sets