Date: 8 October 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: Approx. €38,000,000
Match timing: Approx. 5 pm CEST, 8.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports Select / Disney+ Hotstar VIP | Europe - Eurosport
Petra Kvitova vs Sofia Kenin preview
Petra Kvitova and Sofia Kenin will meet for the third time in their career at Roland Garros on Thursday, with the winner guaranteed to reach their first Major final in Paris.
Since being upset by America's Shelby Rogers at the US Open, World No. 11 Petra Kvitova has played five matches in the French capital and hasn't dropped a single set. The Czech has had an emphatic run at the tournament so far, although it has to be said that she hasn't been tested much.
In her opening couple of matches, Kvitova hammered France's Oceane Dodin and Italy's Jasmine Paolini in straight sets. She then registered a victory over fast-rising Leylah Annie Fernandez to reach the second week of the tournament for the fifth time in her illustrious career.
The former Wimbledon champion has been playing some scintillating tennis on the terre battue, studded with a barrage of aces and winners. The World No. 11 was again spotless in the fourth round and quarterfinals, defeating China's Shuai Zhang and Germany's Laura Siegemund for the loss of six games each.
With this run, the Czech has posted her best result in Paris since 2012, where she exited to eventual champion Maria Sharapova.
Her opponent and World No. 6 Sofia Kenin has had a totally different campaign in Paris. The American suffered a 6-0, 6-0 blowout at the hands of a resurgent Victoria Azarenka in Rome, and many doubted whether she would be able to make much of an impression at Roland Garros.
Kenin made her life even more difficult in the first round, as she was stretched to three sets by Russia's Liudmila Samsonova. A similar trend followed in three of her next four matches; the reigning Australian Open champion was forced to battle from a set down in two of those.
But in her quarterfinal showdown against fellow American Danielle Collins, Kenin raised her level at the most important points. The fourth seed ended up bagelling Collins in the decider, punctuating a sublime performance on serve throughout.
Kenin couldn't win a main draw match at Roland Garros on her debut two years ago, but has improved gradually since then. She registered a fourth-round result in 2019 - beating Serena Williams on the way - and now has a chance to reach the final.
Petra Kvitova vs Sofia Kenin head-to-head
Petra Kvitova leads Sofia Kenin by a margin of 2-0 in their head-to-head meetings. The pair's most recent encounter took place on the clay of Madrid last year, where Kvitova beat Kenin comfortably in straight sets.
Petra Kvitova vs Sofia Kenin prediction
Petra Kvitova would have been bitterly disappointed at not reaching the quarterfinals of the US Open, as she squandered match points against Shelby Rogers before losing in a third-set tiebreak. However, the Czech will have an opportunity to make amends by reaching her first ever French Open final.
Kvitova's big-hitting style of play is well-suited to the heavy conditions in Paris this year. She has hit hard and heavy groundstrokes from the baseline, while also cutting down on the unforced errors.
In her quarterfinal match against Siegemund, Kvitova blasted 22 winners past her opponent while committing just 15 unforced errors.
Sofia Kenin has a quick-strike approach to the game too, but her aggressive play is built around variety and timing more than power. The American has also impressed everyone with her backhand this week - a shot that will come handy for her when she is tasked with tracking down Kvitova's lefty forehand angles.
Kenin is a better mover than Kvitova, so the match will likely come down to whether the Czech can hit the ball past the 21-year-old consistently enough. Given the slow nature of the court, that might not be as easy as it sounds.
Prediction: Sofia Kenin to win in three sets.Published 07 Oct 2020, 22:31 IST