Kvitova vs Barty 25.06.17
Aegon Classic, Birmingham, England, Grass Courts, WTA Tour
It’s Sunday, meaning it’s Final’s day at the Aegon classic, Birmingham, England, and we have a match up for the neutrals to enjoy. I think most ,if not all tennis fans hoped that Petra Kvitova would recover from her horrendous hand injury, however i think very few would have predicted her to be in a Final this soon Her return is just a magnificent story, and if she were to win here and then go on and win Wimbledon, we would surely be looking at the Sport Personality of the Year. Ashleigh Barty is another fascinating character, she was also a semi-professional cricketer and actually gave up tennis to focus on her cricket before returning to the courts in late 2016. She is another real fan favourite, due to her attractive playing style and on-court demeanour. This should be a real cracker, played in really good spirit throughout…
These two have met just once before, at the French Open back in 2012, Kvitova won comfortably on that occasion, 6-1 6-2 in less than an hour.
Aegon Classic Results So Far…
Kvitova is still yet to drop a set this week, she beat Tereza Smitkova 6-2 6-3 in Round 1, followed up by defeating the Brit, Naomi Broady 6-2 6-2 in Round 2. Most people were expecting a much closer match in the Quarter Final as Kvitova faced up to Kristina Mladenovic, both sets were close, however Kvitova always looked to have the match on her racket, eventually winning 6-4 7-6. The Czech drew Lucie Safarova in the Semi Final, and with Safarova clearly struggling with an injury, she took the first set 6-1. Safarova’s retirement looked imminent, and after just one game of Set two, she called it a day and Kvitova advanced to today’s Final.
Barty has had a pretty tough draw to navigate this week, she opened up in Round 1 against Marketa Vondrousova, winning through 7-5 7-6 in a tight encounter. Round 2 brought with it, Barbara Strycova, and having won the first set 6-3, Barty dropped the second by the same scoreline. The Australian broke the Strycova serve in the fourth and sixth games of set three however, and took the decider 6-1. Barty faced Camila Giorgi in the Quarter Final, Giorgi had knocked out world number 5, Elina Svitolina in Round 2, so this was potentially a real test for the Aussie. With Barty leading the first set 5-2 though, Giorgi had to retire with an injury, much to this disappointment of the Italian and the crowd. Yesterday’s Semi Final was always likely to be a long match, against Garbine Muguruza. The Spanish world number 14 took the first set 3-6, before Barty hit back in the second to take it 6-4. An early break of serve and some hard, accurate hitting from Barty seemed to be the catalyst to Muguruza’s downfall in the deciding set, with the Aussie taking it 6-3, much to the delight of the Brummie crowd.
Kvitova’s serving stats this week look like this, she’s won 73% of her service points and held serve 94% of the time.
Barty’s serving stats this week look like this, she’s won 65% of her service points and held serve 83% of the time.
Both serve very well, especially on the grass, Kvitova’s lefty serve is very tricky to return, as it swings and skids away from a right-hander. Barty’s serve is flatter and hit harder, and if her first serve % is high, she will win plenty of free points off her first delivery today.
Kvitova’s returning stats this week look like this, she’s won 47% of her return points, 43% of her break points and opponents have held 58% of the time against her.
Barty’s returning stats this week look like this, she’s won 41% of her return points, 52% of her break points and opponents have held 69% of the time against her.
Kvitova is returning serve extremely well at the moment, and she will look to go after Barty’s second serve. The Aussie will also look to attack off the return when possible, and she will need to keep that break point conversion % high today, as I don’t see her getting too many opportunities to break.
Both player’s will look to attack and hit with aggression off both wings, Barty hits hard flat balls off both her forehand and backhand, whereas Kvitova hits with more shape and height over the net. Both prefer to attack rather than defend, however Kvitova is the slightly better athlete and she will make Barty play that ‘one extra ball’ in most the rallies today, this may well end up proving the difference. Neither player traditionally ventures to the net too often, however i think if Barty is to get close to winning today she will need to utilise her net skills and move forward whenever possible.
I think Kvitova wins this, her serve and return are better than Barty’s and her ability to attack, and more importantly defend with greater consistency should be enough today. If Barty serves well and can take any chances she gets off the return then she gives herself the best chance, I also feel like if she can get to the net and cut points short, that will should her in good stead. If the Aussie can win the first set, then things become interesting, however i have to go for a Czech win and a fairy-tale story..
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