Australian Open 2019: Ashleigh Barty vs Petra Kvitova, Preview and Prediction
As we reach the business end of the 2019 Australian Open, it is perhaps fitting that there is still a remote chance of crowning a first-time Grand Slam champion.
Of the eight women remaining in single's draw, only Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova and Naomi Osaka have triumphed at the majors previously. And it is only the legendary American who has won the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup before.
That leaves extra room to crown a new champion in Melbourne, and with the way seeds have been tumbling down, it could very well happen.
So let us take a look at one of the four quarter-final match-ups in detail and analyze the likely winner:
Ashleigh Barty vs Petra Kvitova
Head-to-Head: Barty 0-3 Kvitova
Last meeting: 2019 Sydney International (Kvitova won 1-6 7-5 7-6)
It was not so long ago that these two players contested in the final of the Sydney International which Petra Kvitova won in three dramatic sets.
Ashleigh Barty, carrying the weight of her nation, will be looking for revenge. The Australian claimed in her press conference that she will need to be ''as brave as possible'' if she is to win the biggest match of her career, something she did ever so well in her comeback victory over Sharapova.
This is the first time an Australian has made the second week in the women's singles draw at the Australian Open since Jelena Dokic in 2009.
For Petra Kvitova, this will be her first quarter-final at the Australian Open and it is unsurprising to see her achieve that feat after a fantastic start to the year.
Both these players know how huge the stakes are. For Barty, appearing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final is a historic moment for Australian women's tennis and she will have a packed Rod Laver Arena cheering her on.
For a player of Kvitova's caliber, you would expect her to overpower the 22-year-old. But what the young Aussie does ever so well is her ability to use the slice with incredible efficiency.
The Czech struggled big time in Sydney during the first two sets and Barty would have learnt a lesson from that defeat and from the other two meetings against Kvitova as she is getting ever close to notch her first win over the big hitting Czech.
Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to win in three sets