The Pick, WTA at Stuttgart, April 23: Kvitova is ready for clay vs. Brengle; Wozniacki and Safarova face off

Kvitova USO 13 TR MALT8353

 

Petra Kvitova looked just fine at Fed Cup last weekend, winning two contests over the French. Now the Czech has to play the American Madison Brengle, the only US in the draw at Stuttgart. Kvitova has been up and down forever, looking like she could wipe out everyone at Wimbledon, and then fading at the US Open. She has been awful at times on clay, but she has been very good at times, reaching the semifinal at Roland Garros three years ago.

Is she ready to dance this year? Who knows, but she is refreshed now after resting during March and now she is happy. Brengle has improved a tremendous amount over the past year and not only can she grind it from the baseline, but she can also attack the ball. She will threaten Kvitova, but Petra’s left-handed serve can be deadly and she will win in two tight sets.

Carolina Wozniacki has been working with Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, the former No. 1 who has rarely watched with the kids, but maybe she has changed now and she understands exactly how the Dane is played. Maybe on clay, Wozniacki will just grind as long her foes grow exhausted and then she can attack. That’s what the three-time RG champ Sanchez did, who was never tired. However, these days almost all the women can crush their forehands –where Sanchez could not — so if Caro just pushes the ball against Lucie Safarova, she will be gone pretty quickly.

The other Czech, Safarova, also played very well at the Fed Cup, so the lefty is happy and ready to move forward and crush her strokes down the line. These two know each other well and Caro can out-run her, but she hasn’t played well much of the year and she has to prove that she feels fine again. Safarova is and will win in three sets.

I am not going to pick with Maria Sharapova against Angie Kerber because even though Maria has been lights out at Stuttgart as she has won the last three years, she is coming off an injury on her leg and she’s vulnerable. Kerber was out of it all year up until Charleston, but then she rose, played beautifully and won the title on green clay. Last Sunday against Russia, she blitzed her foe on red clay, although Germany ended up losing. But the lefty is back, at home and is ready to battle for three hours against Sharapova. Can Angie win? Possibly but she better yank her around quickly and not hope that Sharapova is totally off. This will go three sets, but who will win on Wednesday? It’s a toss-up.

 

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