Australian Open 2019, Petra Kvitova vs Ashleigh Barty: Preview and prediction
After the disappointments from the men, it is Ashleigh Barty who has kept the Australian flag flying high and the home crowd enthused by reaching the quarter-final stage of the Australian Open. To progress further, she will have to get past a two-time grand slam champion in Petra Kvitova.
The world number eight Czech has had an unbelievably smooth run to the quarter finals. She has not only won all her matches in straight sets but has never looked like dropping any. Only one of her opponents, Belinda Bencic, has managed to take more than three games in a set off her.
What has also helped her is the fact that the seeded players she was supposed to meet have fallen by the wayside, as a result of which she has managed to reach the last eight stage without even having to face a single seeded player.
The lack of competitive matches could also be Kvitova’s undoing against a player who is much better in quality than any player she has faced so far in the tournament and is not only playing great tennis but is playing in front of an adoring home crowd.
Ashleigh Barty’s performances so far have been nothing short of electrifying. After three relatively straight forward wins in the first three rounds, she ran into a resurgent Maria Sharapova who had just come off a confidence-boosting win over her long-time rival Caroline Wozniacki.
Though Barty is ranked much higher at world number 15 than the world number 30, her come from behind win over the Russian star had the feel of an ‘upset’. After losing the first set, she turned her game around to take the match in three sets.
It would be fair to say that the crowd support she whipped up through her match certainly had a role to play in her win, especially in that electrifying atmosphere during the last game when she served for the match.
However, one area that Barty would like to improve on is her over-dependence on back-hand slices. If Kvitova attacks her backhand side on a regular basis, which she most certainly will, then Barty would need to use her two-handed backhands, rather than always depend on a variety of backhand slices.
Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to win in three Sets