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Australian Open 2019, Semi Final: Petra Kvitova vs Danielle Collins, Preview and Prediction

ANALYST
Preview
22 Jan 2019, 20:05 IST

Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova

The two-time Grand Slam champion Petra Kvitova will take on the surprise package of the Australian Open 2019, Danielle Rose Collins. It will be a matchup between the most dominant player on the women’s side so far and a rookie player who has been the biggest giant-slayer in the year’s first Grand Slam.

For a player of Petra Kvitova’s quality, it is surprisingly her first Slam semi-final appearance since 2014. But one has to take into account the unfortunate knife attack she faced which derailed her career for a lengthy period. It speaks volumes of her remarkable fortitude that she has resurrected her career and reached a standard that is expected of her.

She has swept aside everyone who has come her way. After four facile wins, it was expected that she would meet her first real challenge in the quarter-final against the fifteenth seed Ashleigh Barty who had just come off an incredible come-from-behind win over Maria Sharapova and was playing in front of an adoring home crowd.

But Kvitova raced off the blocks quickly, and even before the crowd or Barty could get into the match, the first set was gone in a matter of twenty minutes. Barty did pose a tougher challenge in the second set, but Kvitova fought off the challenge and broke Barty’s spirit by breaking her in the ninth game.

Danielle Collins
Danielle Collins

If Kvitova’s run into the semi-final is not much of a surprise, it is her opponent’s incredible run into the last-four stage that has taken the whole tennis world by storm. For a player who was languishing outside the top hundred in ranking a year ago, it has been an unbelievable rise through the ranks.

With her latest efforts, she is sure to improve her ranking further from the career-high 35. She has taken out much more fancied players in the tournament, including world number two and former Australian Open Champion Angelique Kerber in one of the most dominating performances of her career.

As she did against Julia Gorges in her opening round, she came back from a set down against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter-final to seal the win. Even when she surrendered her one-break advantage in the second set, she did not panic. She raised her game a notch.

And when she pocketed the second set 7-5, it was all Collins after that. She lost only one game in the deciding set.

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But she cannot afford to have a slow start against the in-form Kvitova. She will have to start well and maintain her standard of play throughout the match. But on the evidence of what Kvitova has done so far, that too may not be enough against her.

Prediction: Petra Kvitova to win in straight sets

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