Petra Kvitova Battles Past Garbine Muguruza Advancing To The Quarterfinals At The US Open - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Grand Slam

Petra Kvitova Battles Past Garbine Muguruza Advancing To The Quarterfinals At The US Open

Published

on

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova showcased her vintage form on the big stage in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, by ousting fellow two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, 7-6(3), 6-3 to reach her second US Open quarter-final in three years, where she will face another multiple Grand Slam champion in Venus Williams for a place in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Kvitova denied the third seed the chance to complete her set of reaching the quarterfinals at all four Grand Slams, and in the process, she helps her compatriot and reigning world number one Karolina Pliskova, in having a chance of retaining the world number one ranking. However, Muguruza is in pole position to take it but Pliskova will need to reach the final again, and Svitolina could have a chance to claim it, should she reach the semifinals.

Kvitova storms back to take the opening set

The two multiple-time Grand Slam champions both held their serve with ease to get this intriguing fourth round encounter under the lights inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium underway. However, the reigning Wimbledon champion, seeded third at this year’s US Open drew first blood as she broke the 13th seeded Czech’s serve with a helping hand from Kvitova, who was committing unforced errors, and a double fault, which handed the Spaniard a 3-1 lead.

Kvitova was struggling to settle into this match in the early goings as Muguruza consolidated the break and extended the lead to 4-1. However, the two-time Wimbledon champion raced out to a 40-0 lead on her serve but she had to face three break points. Nevertheless, the Czech fended them all off and clinched the game with a scorching forehand winner down the line to ensure the break was a single one.

It proved to be the turning point of the opening set as the third seed could have served out for the first set but she was unable to capitalize on it as Kvitova raised her level once more as she reduced the arrears to 4-3.

Muguruza was under severe pressure in the first set as she had to fend off break points in her next two service games but the hard-hitting Czech was rewarded with her persistence, and going for her shots as she broke Muguruza’s serve to go for a break up and lead 6-5.

It was a tough day at the office for Muguruza, who started off strong (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)

However, the former world number two was unable to close out the first set on her serve as she committed a double fault, and sent the first set to a tiebreak.

The reigning Wimbledon champion, who won Roland Garros last year to claim her maiden Grand Slam singles title got off to a good start in the tiebreak to lead 2-0. Unfortunately, for the Spaniard, she gifted the mini break straight back to Kvitova, who was an imposing figure in the box, creating a forehand winner down the line to restore parity at 2-2.

The errors continued to spray from the tournament favorite’s racquet and she committed an untimely double fault to handed Kvitova, three break points at 6-3. The Czech number two made no mistake by producing a smash winner at the net, 7-6(3) in one hour and four minutes, half way to the biggest winning in her comeback.

Kvitova books her place in a second Flushing Meadows quarterfinal

Muguruza got off to a bright start in the second set as she immediately broke Kvitova’s serve who was bitterly disappointed. However, the Czech broke back instantly to love, leveling the second set at 1-1. The Wimbledon champion’s forehand was not working, and Kvitova continued to target her forehand, with a hold to love, taking a 2-1 lead.

The two-time Grand Slam champion’s backhand started to let her down, and her backhand sprayed wide out of the tramlines handed Kvitova, her third successive game, with a 3-1 advantage, which was crucial and changed the dynamics of this match.

Muguruza’s coach Sam Sumyk was coaching from the box, which is permitted at Grand Slam’s and Muguruza gained a warning for it. Nevertheless, the 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion had locked the big-hitting Spaniard in a vice grip as she took a 4-1 lead in the second set.

Both players would continue to hold onto their serves but Muguruza who is in pole position to clinch the world number one ranking next Monday unless Elina Svitolina reaches the semi finals or Pliskova reaches the final once again will ensure that Muguruza will have to wait. Kvitova brought up her first match point on the Spaniard’s serve but Kvitova committed errors which let the Spaniard off the hook temporarily, trailing 3-5.

The two-time Wimbledon champion will enter as the slight favorite against Venus Williams in the next round (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)

The crowd was willing Kvitova on but it was far from easy as the former French Open champion created four break points in total, and has Muguruza broke back, the complexion of the match would have changed once more. Nevertheless, the dual Wimbledon champion’s serve came to her rescue, and she scored a huge victory over the in-form Cincinnati champion Muguruza, 7-6(3), 6-3 in one hour and 45 minutes.

Kvitova’s victory over Muguruza means it will be just her tenth appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal, and it is her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2015 at the US Open, when she lost to eventual champion Flavia Pennetta.

The Czech was pleased to play back on the big stage. “A lot, it was good to play on the big stage, in my recovery, I was working hard to play here again, my team is always supporting me all of the time, I’m really glad that I have them, it means a lot, it’s an incredible night to play in front of a great crowd.”

“I don’t think I can find the right words, five months it was tough, it was a journey that I didn’t know it would end if it’s at this stage it’s a happy end.

Kvitova also added, “It’s totally different, it’s something new, I’m very appreciative and experienced life, every moment I’m living it’s something special, I’m enjoying them more than before.

The former world number two was asked about her expectations of winning the title, “I have no idea, I came here without any expectations, if I can improve my serve, it would be better than today, better chances, I don’t know, I don’t have any goals or anything, I’m going to try to be aggressive.”

Grand Slam

Australian Open Considering Switching Women’s Final To Sunday In Future

Published

on

The Australian Open could become the first Grand Slam to break away from the tradition of women playing their singles final first. 

According to a report from the Australian Associated Press, tournament chief Craig Tiley is open to making such a move which wouldn’t require any approval from either the WTA or ATP. However, they would likely need to consult with players first and no changes are set to be made in 2025. 

The reasoning for making such a change is due to the women’s final usually being shorter than the men’s best with it being a best-of-three set match. Compared to the men who play the best-of-five. Their thinking is that due to the length of men’s matches increasing in recent years, staging it on a Saturday would enable more people to watch the entire match compred to a Sunday when many are consious about staying up late due to the working week starting on Monday. 

This year’s Australian Open saw Jannik Sinner bounce back from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in a epic encounter that lasted three hours and 46 minuites. Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka required an hour and 17 mnuites to beat China’s Qinwen Zheng and capture the title. 

Should such a switch take place, it is estimated that the Sunday finale would end at around 10:30pm local time instead of after midnight, which would make it more appealing to fans. Furthermore, it could throw the women’s final more into the spotlight. 

However, there will be obstacles that need to be addressed. The most significant for the Australian Open will be trying to ensure that their 48-hour recovery period between best-of-five-set men’s matches will still be followed. 

This year was the first time in history that the Melbourne major took place over 15 days with play starting on a Sunday. Organisers claimed that the move was done in order to prevent the number of late-night finishes. However, it has little effect on any matches that took place after the first round. 

It is throught that now the event is held over 15 days, it gives more room for organisers to schedule the men’s final for a Saturday. The proposal was discussed during this year’s Australian Open’s official debrief. 

Continue Reading

Grand Slam

It Wasn’t The Same Old Story On Sunday Down Under

Jannik Sinner won his first Grand Slam title on Sunday.

Published

on

(@janniksin - Twitter)

It’s been the same old story at the Australian Open for a long time in the men’s game.

One of the greats almost always would take the top prize Down Under. Either Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer or even Stan Wawrinka always prevailed since 2006 at Melbourne.

And then came Jannik Sinner in 2024.

None of the other superstars were still around for Sunday’s final.

A DIFFERENT AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Yes, this time it was a different Australian Open.

But actually Sinner may have written his own story when he upended Djokovic in the semifinals. Without that experience, the slender Italian may not have been able to handle the pressure that Daniil Medvedev sent his way in the final.

Sinner was ready for the finish line after shocking Djokovic in the semifinals. It just took time to get there.

Sinner played within himself most of the last three sets of the final. A first-time Grand Slam finalist, Sinner played as if he belonged there in those three sets.

But, oh, those first two sets when Medvedev dominated play with his backhand from the middle of the court. Backhands usually are reserved for the backhand side of the court, but not with the tall Russian on the court.

SINNER DIDN’T PLAY HIS GAME AT FIRST

In a similar manner as women’s champion Aryna Sabalenka, Sinner followed up a big semifinal win with his own Australian Open title. Only, Sinner had to fight for five sets to accomplish his dream Down Under with a 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Medvedev.

Sinner appeared to play far differently from his victory over Djokovic when he controlled the court with his aggressive play and power.

This time, Sinner started things conservatively with few aggressive winners, repeatedly leaving the corners wide open for Medvedev’s crafty, but hard hit strokes. Medvedev made Sinner  pay a price with a style of play that was just the opposite.

Medvedev played close to the baseline and aggressively hopped on balls with his backhand in whip-lash fashion. He hardly had to move as he conserved energy.

THE STRATEGY ALMOST WORKED TO PERFECTION

Medvedev’s strategy worked like a charm until Sinner served the ninth game of the third set as Medvedev once needed only six points for a possible Grand Slam title. Sinner managed to overcome a deuce score to win that game.

Medvedev fell behind 30-0 serving the 10th game of the set and then Sinner got his first set point. Sinner made it stand up and it was a new game after that.

Sinner didn’t appear to be ready for Medvedev’s game the first two sets, but the Italian then came alive. He became prepared for Medvedev, even after losing the first two sets.

Of course, Sabalenka got her boost from a surprising, but solid win over talented Coco Graff in the women’s semifinals. Sabalenka then was never really challenged by Qinwen Zheng in the final.

Sinner’s final was much different.  He was somewhat lucky to escape with  a win.

Medvedev almost wrapped up the title in the ninth game, but it didn’t happen. As a result, Sinner may have started his own success story in Grand Slam finals.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

Continue Reading

Focus

Australian Open Daily Preview: Daniil Medvedev Plays Jannik Sinner for the Men’s Singles Championship

Published

on

Daniil Medvedev during Friday’s semifinals (twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

The men’s singles and women’s doubles championship matches are on Sunday in Melbourne.

Across the last 10 hard court Majors, Daniil Medvedev has now advanced to six championship matches, half of which have come in Melbourne.  In those finals, Medvedev is a meek 1-4.  However, this is the first time Medvedev is looking across the net at a man not named Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, the two winningest male singles players of all-time at Grand Slam events.

And Medvedev can thank Jannik Sinner for that, who for the third time in their last four meetings, defeated Djokovic in Friday’s semifinals to reach his first Major final.  Since adding Darren Cahill to his team 18 months ago, one of tennis’s best coaches of all-time, Sinner’s game has continually and significantly improved, most evident in his three victories over Djokovic since November.  On Sunday, the most dominant male player of this fortnight looks to break more new ground in his young career.

Earlier on Sunday, in the women’s doubles championship match, it’s Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko (11) vs. Su-Wei Hsieh and Elise Mertens (2).  This is a first Major final for Kichenok, and a first in doubles for Ostapenko.  Su-Wei has won seven Majors in doubles, including her first mixed title earlier this week, and is 7-1 at this stage of Majors.  Mertens has won three Majors in women’s doubles, including Wimbledon in 2021 alongside Su-Wei.


Jannik Sinner (4) vs. Daniil Medvedev (3) – Not Before 7:30pm on Rod Laver Arena

Through six rounds, Sinner has dropped just one of 19 sets, which came against Djokovic in the semis.  But even that match was a rather comfortable win for the Italian, who lost only six games in the three sets he claimed.  Jannik has not just been the best ATP player this fortnight: he’s been the best ATP player since the last Major, with a record of 26-2.  The 22-year-old is 10-4 in ATP finals, with this of course being by far the biggest of his career to date.

Medvedev endured a much more complicated path to this final, completing 25 out of a possible 30 sets, which included three five-setters.  Two of those came in the last two rounds, against Hubert Hurkacz and Sascha Zverev.  Daniil has spent six more hours on court than Jannik, and has played for over 11 hours during the second week alone.  He is 20-16 in ATP Finals, with all 20 titles coming at different events.  But Medvedev can be rather streaky in finals: after losing five in a row, he won seven of eight, yet has now lost his last three.

And those last two losses came at the hands of Sinner, who beat him in both Beijing and Vienna.  Jannik also defeated Daniil in the semifinals of the ATP Finals in November, though all three of those recent matches were tight.  Prior to that, Medvedev had dominated their head-to-head 6-0, which includes two finals earlier in 2023.  All ten of their meetings have taken place on hard courts, and this is their first at a Major.

Based on their recent history, as well as their individual form this fortnight, I favor Sinner to win his first Major on Sunday.  While he’ll surely be nervous in the biggest match of his life, and could experience an emotional letdown coming off ending Novak’s undefeated record of 20-0 in Australian Open semis and finals, Jannik will be the much fresher player on this day.  Plus, he will feel confident after those three recent wins over Daniil, who has a lot of scar tissue to overcome in Major finals.  And after facing Medvedev so much within the past year, Sinner is well-versed on how to take advantage of Daniil’s deep return position.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

Continue Reading

Trending