WTA Dubai Tennis Championships 2019, Semi-final 1: Petra Kvitova vs Hsieh Su-wei, Preview and Prediction
Kvitova has had a stellar season so far, although she does not have a title to show for her efforts yet. The closest she came to winning a title was at the year’s first Grand Slam where she lost to Naomi Osaka. That may all change here in Dubai. But before she can think of a summit clash, she has to first get through a player who has surprised many with her giant-killing acts.
Kvitova came to Dubai after a shock defeat to Donna Vekic at the St. Petersburg Open. Her performances in the first two matches in Dubai were far from impressive as well.
But in the quarter-final, she seemed to be back at her very best. Against the 20-year-old Viktoria Kuzmova, she took her game up a notch, especially on serve. In her round of sixteen encounter against the American Jennifer Brady, she had served very poorly and committed a whopping ten double faults.
But she was sharp against Kuzmova. Her win percentage on first serve was 74 and her second serve was also impressive, winning 69% of the points. Her dominance in the match could be gauged from the fact that she won 23 more points than Kuzmova in the match.
But she will face a tricky opponent in the semi-final. The 33-year-old Hsieh Su-wei is on a giant-killing spree. Her most recent victim was Kvitova’s compatriot, Karolina Pliskova. In a topsy-turvy match, where the momentum swung wildly from one player to the other, the final decisive break went in favour of the Taiwanese.
Not long ago, Pliskova had handed Serena Williams a defeat when the match looked all but over. Here, she got a taste of what that felt like. From 1-5 down in the third set, the tenacious Taiwanese veteran clawed her way back to win six games in a row and hand a bitter defeat to the fourth seed.
Can Hsieh continue her giant-killing spree and get the better of the highest remaining seed in the tournament? On the evidence of what she has shown so far, it is certainly not beyond her. But Kvitova too seems to be in top shape after an impressive quarterfinal victory, and seems to have the edge going into the semi-final.
Prediction: Petra Kvitova to win in 3 sets