Australian Open 2020: Ashleigh Barty vs Petra Kvitova, quarter-finals preview and prediction
- Can Kvitova use her power and newfound court craft to win against a confident Barty?
Throwback after throwback is what the 2020 Australian Open has given us in its first week. And what better way to kick-start the second with a repeat of last year's quarter-final featuring Petra Kvitová and Ashleigh Barty.
Two women who have repeated, in several interviews over the years, their mutual respect for each other and it's always nice to see the camaraderie translate into brilliant tennis action on court. And while Kvitova brushed off Barty in straight sets last time, a lot has changed. Barty has won her first slam, reached the no. 1 ranking, and beaten Kvitová thrice since.
Barty has the extra motivation of doing well against her home crowd. She was just the awarded the Young Australian of the Year award and was visibly emotional about her win against Alison Riske. Barty said after her fourth round win
I love Petra, but I hope she doesn't break my heart on Tuesday.
Her past couple of matches have done her good. Riske, especially, seemed to have brought out the best of the no. 1 seed and by the end of the match, Barty was gliding through the court. And that was not the only department where Barty excelled; her forehand had regained the punch that had gone missing in the face of Riske's aggression and her slice had also gotten back to doing great damage in the rallies.
Kvitová will be worried as she is not the best equipped to handle the low balls coming off of Barty's slice. It will be interesting to see how she comes out against that particular shot.
An interesting element of Kvitová's game that has been working really well for her is the approach shot and her own odd backhand slice that she has used to reset quite a few rallies.
It's surprising that opponents haven't taken notice of these shots, but what's even more jarring is that despite repeated success, Kvitová hasn't used them in play enough. Well, a quarterfinal against Barty is as good a testing ground as it gets.
Prediction: Kvitova to win in three sets.
Published 27 Jan 2020, 18:25 IST