Brisbane International 2020: Madison Keys vs Petra Kvitova, match preview and prediction
Difficult draws and giant-killing sprees in the top half of the draw notwithstanding, top WTA players Petra Kvitova and Madison Keys have safely made their way to the semifinals of the 2020 Brisbane International.
Kvitova recovered quickly after losing the first set against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the opening round to string a few easy wins. Keys meanwhile has not even had to face set points at any stage in the week.
Such has been the dominance of two of the biggest-hitting players on tour that they seem to have been playing a different tournament. They remained unfazed by the fall of top seeds Asheligh Barty and Elina Svitolina early on, and kept their focus to fend off the challenge of some big match players.
Keys has looked comfortable on the Australian hardcourts through most of her career, but hasn't had the kind of big results that she would have liked to start off the year. All of that could change this year if she finds a way to get over the Kvitova hurdle in the semifinals, which are set to take place at Pat Rafter Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The American plays a game that is quite similar to that of Kvitova's, characterised by big flat groundstrokes off both wings. The one area that she might have an advantage over the Czech is that Keys gives herself more margin for error than Kvitova, even managing to introduce some topspin into her shots when needed to get the ball to land inside the court.
Kvitova has looked dialed-in during her matches in the tournament so far. And if her forehand and serve start to fire like they have for most of the week, she will be hard to beat.
Keys will have to keep her composure throughout the match and look to play her way into the points, rather than going for broke against someone like Kvitova - who possess similar, if not stronger groundstrokes.
A frustrated Kvitova is not too effective in rallies; once the unforced errors start flowing, things can unravel real quick. But it remains to be seen if Keys can get Kvitova to that point.
Prediction: Kvitova to win in two sets.