Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova targets a return to the Australian Open quarter-finals when she comes up against Maria Sakkari on Sunday.
Petra Kvitova ?? vs Maria Sakkari ?? Match Info
Date: Sunday January 26
Tournament: Australian Open R16
Court: Rod Laver Arena
Time: 12.00pm local time (1.00am GMT)
Petra Kvitova vs Maria Sakkari Head-to-Head
Sakkari leads 2-1
2019 | Cincinnati R32 | Sakkari 6-4 2-6 6-3
2019 | Rome R16 | Sakkari 7-5 5-7 4-0 RET
2019 | Miami R64 | Kvitova 6-1 6-4
Petra Kvitova vs Maria Sakkari Match Preview
While Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki were involved in epic battles, ultimately resulting in both being eliminated, Kvitova was quietly going about her business on Margaret Court Arena, swatting aside the challenge of in-form Ekaterina Alexandrova in two dominant straight sets to advance into the second week of the Australian Open for the fourth time.
After crushing compatriot Katerina Siniakova for the loss of just one game and outlasting the challenge of an inspired Paula Badosa 7-5 7-5 in the second round, Kvitova produced another magnificent display, defeating 25th seed Alexandrova by a 6-1 6-2 scoreline. The Russian was undefeated for the season after winning the Shenzhen title to launch 2020, but Kvitova was on another level as she blasted 18 winners to 10 unforced errors in the swift 58-minute triumph.
“I think the key was the first two games, where I held serve after, I don’t know, seven, eight minutes. Then I broke her. It was the nice beginning of me, for sure.
“From then, I felt good and I played pretty aggressively. I knew that I have to play like this, going through the first shot. She likes to play the same game as me. I was just trying to be the first who put the pressure on her.”
On course for a quarter-final rematch with Australia’s own top seed Ashleigh Barty, Kvitova is demonstrating the sort of form that took her to the final at Melbourne Park 12 months ago. The Czech beat Barty for the Sydney International title and on her way to the title match in 2019 and if she maintains her current level, she will take some serious stopping over the next week.
Kvitova is fresh after making the Adelaide semi-finals to being the season, before pulling out of Adelaide, in what is looking like an increasingly wise decision. Can she avenge a last-start loss to her fourth round rival on Sunday?
Sakkari snapped a 0-7 record in Grand Slam third rounds to finally progress into the second week when she scored a big win over 10th seed and former semi-finalist Madison Keys, beating the American 6-4 6-4 in front of another strong contingent of Greek fans. It wasn’t the cleanest match by any means, but Sakkari was the player who remained solid, taking advantage of a whopping 40 unforced errors by Keys.
“I have been struggling a lot at every Grand Slam,” Sakkari during her on-court interview. “I was getting stuck at the third round, so I’m so happy to be through to the fourth round! It was a great day for me, and a great crowd.”
After reaching her first WTA final in 2018 in San Jose and earning a maiden top five win over Karolina Pliskova in Rome, Sakkari took her game to the next level in 2019, winning her maiden WTA title on the clay of Rabat, while she also played well again in Rome and San Jose to make the semi-finals of both. Along with third round appearances at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Sakkari finished last season at a year-end ranking of No. 23 – and depending on other results, she could crack the top 20 for the first time after the Australian Open.
Petra Kvitova vs Maria Sakkari Prediction
Sakkari did win their last match in Cincinnati last season, but Kvitova traditionally doesn’t play well in North America and this clash is shaping up to be completely different. Sakkari’s strengths include tremendous movement and wonderful athleticism, but she is lacking a big weapon to finish off points. I think if Kvitova plays like she has all tournament, the Czech will simply have too much firepower for the athletic Greek.