Petra Kvitova: Ablaze with clay-court winning streak

FROM ROLAND GARROS – A few years ago, she would look great, and then the next day, she would fold. When she won Wimbledon, twice, she would crush the balls, with her forehand, backhand and returns. On grass, she didn’t care about a lot of spin, she would flatten it out, she would aim for the lines, and hit it as hard as she could.

On clay, though, it is a different story. You have to slide, you have to recover your footing, you have to be stoic. Over the years, Kvitova would do that, but not every week. She would smile a lot when she was winning, but when she would lose, she would be frustrated, and slightly sad. In 2012 at Roland Garros, she reached the semis, but she couldn’t figure out Maria Sharapova.

Maybe this could be the same thing, but this year, she has been much more calm and forceful. She is in great shape, and she is quick. She doesn’t get tired hardly at all.

Kvitova has won 13 matches in a row, winning Prague and Madrid, outlasting Kiki Bertens 6-3 in the third. She has won two matches in Roland Garros, so that’s 15 in a row.  On the hard courts, she was a little bit out of it. But on the clay over the past month, she understands everything.
“I lost in the second round in Sydney and first in Australian Open. Then I won two tournaments,” Kvitova said. “And then Indian Wells and Miami wasn’t really great. So, I still feel it’s still up and down. But so far in the clay, I don’t really think that it’s that bad, so I’m trying to be more consistent. I think on the clay especially you need it, to be more consistent, to play more relaxed, staying in the rally, don’t panic that much, and just try. And that’s what it’s really working well for me right now.” She will face the No. 25 Anette Kontaveit in the next round.

Here’s a terrific match-up between Naomi Osaka versus Madison Keys in round three. Both of them are super aggressive, but both of them have to dig in. … Sloane Stephens is already playing fantastic ball, winning two matches, only dropped six games combined. She will face Camila Giorgi who has a lot of variety. … Novak Djokovic is getting better and better, and he will play against the veteran Roberto Bautista Agut. It would be pretty close for a while, but Djokovic has a much better backhand than he does. … Grigor Dimitrov survived Jared Donaldson 10-8 in the fifth, a long day. Now he will have to face Fernando Verdasco, another smooth veteran like the Bulgarian. Given that it took over four hours for Dimitrov to win, he cannot grind it in the next round. He has to go for it early when he can.  

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