Former champion Petra Kvitova faces Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck for the first time as the pair clash for a spot in the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy quarter-finals on Thursday.
Petra Kvitova 🇨🇿 vs Alison van Uytvanck 🇧🇪 Match Info
Date: Thursday February 13
Tournament: St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, R2
Court: Sibur Arena
Time: 2.30pm local time (11.30am GMT)
Petra Kvitova vs Alison van Uytvanck Head-to-Head
Petra Kvitova vs Alison van Uytvanck Match Preview
Kvitova brings a 6-1 record into the St. Petersburg Ladies Open second round after winning the title in 2018 and making the quarter-finals in 2019, where she tasted defeat for the first time against Donna Vekic.
It’s been a solid start to 2020 for Kvitova, with the two-time Wimbledon champion reaching the semi-finals in Brisbane, losing to Madison Keys, and the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, where she beat the likes of Ekaterina Alexandrova and Maria Sakkari before succumbing to World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in straight sets. Making the last eight of a major is always a good result, but Kvitova would have been disappointed with how she fell away meekly after dropping the first set against Barty in a tiebreak, with the loss resulting in her dropping out of the top 10 after failing to defend her runner-up points from 2019.
Kvitova was one win away from reaching World No. 1 when she lost to Naomi Osaka in last year’s Australian Open final, but she still put together a great season, finishing inside the top 10 for the seventh time, also winning titles in Sydney and Stuttgart, finishing runner-up in Dubai and making the fourth round of Wimbledon – results that propelled her into the WTA Finals Shenzhen for the seventh time, which is the third best of all time behind Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.
The immediate focus for Kvitova will be swiftly regaining a spot inside the top 10, which she can do with a title in St. Petersburg this week. Can she get past a very dangerous indoors player in her opening match?
Van Uytvanck has won three of her four career titles indoors and was in sensational form in her St. Petersburg first round, crushing 2017 champion Kristina Mladenovic by a 6-4 6-1 scoreline in just 78 minutes. The Belgian struck 20 winners to just six unforced errors in a remarkably clean performance and commented after the match about how she loves playing in these conditions.
“If I could choose, I would play the whole year indoors,” said van Uytvanck. “I prefer to play indoors, even though all the big tournaments are outdoors. I did win an outdoor tournament [Tashkent, in 2019], which was nice for me to finally do well outdoors. But here, you don’t have the wind, you don’t have the sun, which helps my game.”
The win also doubled as van Uytvanck’s first victory of 2020 after illness contributed to opening round defeats in Hobart and the Australian Open.
The 25-year-old burst onto the scene when she made the French Open quarter-finals back in 2015, but she’d have to wait until Wimbledon in 2018 to make the second week of a slam again, where she knocked out defending champion Garbine Muguruza along the way. Van Uytvanck won two WTA titles in 2019 in Budapest and Tashkent to finish the season at No. 47 in the world, which was five spots off her career-best of No. 42 in 2015.
Petra Kvitova vs Alison van Uytvanck Prediction
This could be a very tough clash for Kvitova, especially with the Czech playing her first match since the Australian Open. As mentioned, van Uytvanck is at her best indoors and was superb in her opening round – and if she can bring that form to the table, she’s going to be in with a chance. We mustn’t forget that Kvitova is excellent herself in these conditions, and I think she has to be considered the favourite, but the Belgian is capable of the upset here.