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Kenin vs Kvitova French Open tennis preview, head-to-head and predictions

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova go head-to-head for a place in the French Open final.

Sofia Kenin vs Petra Kvitova is live from Roland Garros on Thursday 8 October, 5pm local/4pm BST

It could be seen as the de facto final, as the last two seeded players in the French Open draw, Sofia Kenin and Petra Kvitova, face off with the winner to face 19-year-old Iga Swiatek or qualifier Nadia Podoroska on Saturday, either of whom would be playing their first Grand Slam final.

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Wimbledon champion Kvitova leads the head-to-head with Kenin 2-0 – but Kenin herself proved that head-to-heads don’t mean everything when she beat Danielle Collins in the quarterfinals.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Kenin vs Kvitova: Head-to-head

Petra Kvitova leads the head-to-head with Sofia Kenin 2-0, winning 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in Miami in 2018 and 6-1, 6-4 in Madrid in May 2019, on clay. They have not played since Kenin became a top-10 player, however.

Kenin vs Kvitova: Preview

You have to hand it to Sofia Kenin. The Australian Open champion nobody expected just keeps on proving that her victory in January was no fluke and that she’s at the top of the game to stay. When shutdown began, she had just picked up her fifth career title in Lyon; she made the last 16 at the US Open, and has now bounced back from an 0-6, 0-6 defeat to Victoria Azarenka in Rome by making the semifinals of the French Open for the first time.

Four of the five matches Kenin has played so far at Roland Garros have gone the distance, including a comeback win over Fiona Ferro in the fourth round, but perhaps none have been as impressive as the match she played to beat Danielle Collins in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Collins had a 3-0 record vs Kenin coming into this match, and has been playing the best clay-court tennis of her career (not, admittedly, saying much) to beat Garbine Muguruza and Ons Jabeur, but she simply couldn’t find the right balance of patience and aggression against Kenin’s maddening consistency. She managed to level up, but was swiftly left behind in the third set – and unlike against Muguruza and Jabeur, she could not find a way to come back and win.

Despite four double faults, Kenin’s serving continued to be effective even if it looks a little odd, with her usual incredibly precise placement making up for a lack of outright explosiveness, and she played her usual clean match to make the second Grand Slam semifinal of her young career.

Petra Kvitova (Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA)

This is more familiar territory for Petra Kvitova – her seventh Grand Slam semifinal, in fact. But they have been few and far between for the Czech in recent years, not just at the French Open – her only previous run to the final four came in 2012 – but everywhere: Since winning Wimbledon in 2014, her only other venture past the quarterfinals came at the 2019 Australian Open, where she finished runner-up to Garbine Muguruza.

It’s very emotional territory for Kvitova, who made her comeback after sustaining career-threatening injuries to her playing hand at Roland Garros three years ago, and it’s been clear at the end of her last couple of matches how much this means to her. So far, however, Kvitova has avoided letting the scale of the opportunity get to her: I was sure Laura Siegemund would be too much for her, but instead Kvitova simply smothered the German with power, just as she did Zhang Shuai, serving six aces, losing just seven points behind her first serve, and putting tons of pressure on Siegemund’s serve. Siegemund had no opportunity to out-craft Kvitova because the points simply weren’t long enough, and Kvitova made it a clean win, 6-3, 6-3.

It won’t be quite as easy against Kenin – well, it can be, if Kvitova produces a really flawless performance, but Kenin is such a good, smart competitor, such a solid server and so good at putting pressure on her opponents, it feels unlikely. Kvitova will win in straight sets or Kenin will win in three – and Kenin has been really good so far this fortnight at winning in three.

Kenin vs Kvitova: Prediction

One of the last seeds remaining, can Petra Kvitova stop Laura Siegemund’s surge and reach her first French Open semifinal in eight years?

Kvitova vs Siegemund is live from Roland Garros on Wednesday 7 October, 11am local/10am BST

Seventh seed Petra Kvitova is one of just two top-eight seeds remaining – and the player from her half of the draw who reaches the final could have a huge advantage in experience and ranking over their opponent, guaranteed to be unseeded.

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It looks like a huge opportunity, but Laura Siegemund is not to be underestimated; nor will the German, in an overdue first French Open quarterfinal, go down easily at a tournament which has seen top seed after top seed felled.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Kvitova vs Siegemund: Head-to-head

Petra Kvitova won her only previous match against Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-1 at the US Open in 2015.

Kvitova vs Siegemund: Preview

The emotion was clear for Petra Kvitova when she closed out her 6-2, 6-4 victory over Zhang Shuai to reach her first French Open quarterfinal in eight years, on the very court on which she made her 2017 comeback, her left hand still newly surgically repaired after the knife wounds sustained during a botched robbery at her home.

But the much-loved Czech isn’t done yet; as one of the only two seeded players remaining in the women’s draw after Ons Jabeur went out to Danielle Collins and third seed Elina Svitolina was stunned by qualifier Nadia Podoroska, the opportunity is immense for Kvitova to make the French Open semifinals for the first time since 2012 and, perhaps, go further.

It’s reminiscent of Wimbledon 2013, and everybody knows what that signifies: when Serena Williams had been eliminated in the fourth round and the opportunity seemed immense for Kvitova to claim a second Wimbledon title, only for the Czech to go down to Kirsten Flipkens in the quarterfinals.

Laura Siegemund (Photo HMB Media)

And it could very much happen again at the 2020 French Open. Kvitova hasn’t dropped a set yet at Roland Garros, but Laura Siegemund is a horribly tough opponent for her. Don’t be fooled by the fact that Kvitova won their previous match 6-1, 6-1; Siegemund was a much less dangerous player than she is now. The German would not really break through until the following year, when she reached the final of Stuttgart as a qualifier, returning to win the prestigious tournament in 2017; Siegemund might have been expected to make a deep run at that year’s French Open, playing as beautifully as she was, had not she sustained a horrible injury in Nuremberg the week before and missed the rest of the season.

Siegemund did not return until the following March and dropped out of the top 350 as a result, and has largely been rebuilding ever since, but the 32-year-old now ranked world no. 66 has always had a run like this in her, especially on clay where she is markedly better than on other surfaces. Kristina Mladenovic, Julia Goerges, Petra Martic and Paula Badosa, all players who can be very dangerous on this surface and in the case of Mladenovic, Goerges and Badosa, players who have a clear power advantage over her, like Kvitova. Siegemund is aggressive, takes the ball early, takes time away from her opponents; she’s got great touch, drop shots and lobs to make her opponent run and yank them out of position; she clings on like a burr, and has been serving very well. The only way Kvitova will win this is by absolutely blasting Siegemund off the court with her first-strike tennis, and that’s a tall order. We could very well see another French Open ‘shock’.

Kvitova vs Siegemund: Prediction

In an increasingly wide-open draw, can Petra Kvitova subdue the tricky Zhang Shuai to make a rare French Open quarterfinals?

Kvitova vs Zhang is live from Roland Garros on Monday 5 October, 11am local/10am BST

One of only three of the top eight seeds remaining, Petra Kvitova has not reached the quarterfinals of the French Open since her semifinal run in 2012 – and she cannot afford to underestimate the challenge of Zhang Shuai if she is to do so on Monday.

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Zhang, the first Chinese player to reach the fourth round of Roland Garros since Li Na won the title in 2012, has been a tricky opponent for Kvitova in the past – their head-to-head is locked at 3-3.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Kvitova vs Zhang: Head-to-head

The head-to-head between Petra Kvitova and Zhang Shuai stands at 3-3. On clay, it is 1-1, with Zhang winning in three sets in Rome in 2014 and Kvitova winning their most recent meeting in Prague in 2018, 7-6(6), 6-0.

Kvitova vs Zhang: Preview

Much like the men’s draw at the US Open after Novak Djokovic went out, the women’s draw at the French Open is now wide open after the two big tournament favourites, Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza, went out within 24 hours of each other.

Kvitova is on the other side of the draw, so would not have had to face those players before the final, but every player remaining in the field has to deal with an extra burden of pressure and expectation now and that very much includes Kvitova, who is the only seeded player left in her quarter – should she beat Zhang Shuai, she’ll face Laura Siegemund or Paula Badosa in the quarterfinals.

The Czech faced her first test of the tournament against Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez in the third round, a real battle in which Kvitova trailed her fellow lefty 1-5 before clawing her way back in and winning 7-5, 6-3, although Fernandez never stopped fighting and played a very good match. What is unquestionably suiting Kvitova at this tournament, where she is yet to drop a set, is the way the slow conditions reward players who can hit through the court; the trick is for her to serve well enough to set up her preferred first-strike points, and maintain her balance of winners and unforced errors.

Zhang Shuai (Photo by Rob Prange/DPPI/Icon Sportswire)

Zhang knows all about beating Kvitova; she’s done it in three of their six meetings. The Chinese player was on the verge of retiring before an unexpected quarterfinal run at the Australian Open in 2016, and she duplicated the feat at Wimbledon last year; currently ranked world no. 39, Zhang was a runner-up in Hobart in January and got her first post-shutdown wins when she made the quarterfinals in Strasbourg as a qualifier. At the French Open, despite a 4-8 record coming into this year’s tournament, she’s beaten Madison Keys, Alize Cornet and French wildcard Clara Burel.

Both women know what to expect coming into this match: Kvitova will try to overwhelm Zhang with power she can’t match, Zhang will try to take the ball early to take time away from Kvitova, hit behind the tall Czech and do anything she can to disrupt Kvitova’s rhythm. It’s all about whether Kvitova can execute her game as well as she needs to in order to seize this opportunity. Given how well the French Open has gone for some of the top seeds so far, I’m backing Zhang to get the upset which is well within her capabilities.

Kvitova vs Zhang: Prediction

Petra Kvitova faces Leylah Fernandez in the third round of Roland Garros – can the 18-year-old Canadian cause a huge upset?

Kvitova vs Fernandez is live from Roland Garros on Saturday 3 October, 3pm local/2pm BST

Petra Kvitova hasn’t reached the last 16 at the French Open since 2015 – and in order to do so in 2020, she will have to stop the winning run of one of the WTA’s most talented teenagers, Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez.

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The trilingual Fernandez beat a top-10 player the first time she was faced with one and has defeated veterans Magda Linette and Polona Hercog to reach the third round: Can she add Kvitova to her list of scalps?

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Kvitova vs Fernandez: Head-to-head

This is the first meeting between Petra Kvitova and Leylah Annie Fernandez.

Kvitova vs Fernandez: Preview

With second seed Karolina Pliskova suffering a shock defeat to Jelena Ostapenko on Thursday, seventh seed Petra Kvitova is now arguably one of the favourites to make the semifinals at the French Open – something she hasn’t done since 2012, when she beat Ashleigh Barty (then ranked outside the top 300) in the first round and did not face a seeded player before losing to Maria Sharapova in the semis.

In subsequent years Kvitova has only once made it as far as the round of 16, with the big-serving Czech not bad at playing on clay, but preferring less traditional conditions than the ones prevailing at Roland Garros: She’s won the high-altitude Madrid Open twice, and in 2019 claimed the Stuttgart title, adding to her established mastery of indoors tennis.

Kvitova played her first match at the French Open under the roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier, and seemingly enjoyed it, beating Oceane Dodin 6-3, 7-5; in the second round, she was outdoors, but had few difficulties against Italy’s Jasmine Paolini. While it seems counterintuitive that Kvitova might perform well in these slower conditions, it’s been established that the ability to power the ball through the court, to hit flat as well as with the usual heavy spin of summer clay, can be effective at this autumnal French Open – and Kvitova can do that with ease.

Leylah Annie Fernandez (ChrysleneCaillaud/Panoramic)

At last year’s French Open, Leylah Annie Fernandez was the junior champion; just a couple of months later she would win her first professional title at the $25k in Gatineau, and would end the year ranked just outside the top 200. Already in 2020 she has climbed all the way to world no. 100 – and that’s with a six-month shutdown of the sport. Fernandez successfully qualified for the Australian Open, then reached her first WTA Tour final in Acapulco as a qualifier, finishing runner-up to Heather Watson; she went on to make the quarterfinals in Monterrey, then returned from shutdown to win back-to-back matches in Lexington and ‘Cincinnati’.

Defeated in the second round of the US Open by Sofia Kenin, Fernandez lost her only warm-up match on clay in Rome when she was defeated by Stefanie Voegele in the first round of qualifying. But at Roland Garros, it’s been a different story: Three-set wins over 31st seed Magda Linette and dangerous veteran Polona Hercog, the latter particularly hard and impressively fought by the young Canadian.

Fernandez has already claimed her first win over a top-10 player when she beat Belinda Bencic in Fed Cup earlier this year, and I don’t expect her to be overawed by Kvitova. The teenager has an enviable attitude and seems, so far, to be a great competitor, not to mention a blur of energy on the court. Like Kvitova, she’s a lefty, but she doesn’t play the unabashed first-strike tennis of Kvitova. She’s very good at constructing points, but if Kvitova serves well, I’m not sure that there will be much Fernandez can do about it – the match is on Kvitova’s racquet, but if she falters, the youngster will be there to take advantage.

Kvitova vs Fernandez: Prediction

Petra Kvitova will have to find a way to stop the impressive run of powerful Shelby Rogers if the Czech is to reach the quarterfinals of the US Open.

Kvitova vs Rogers is live from New York on Sunday 6 September, 3pm local/8pm BST

The US Open has always been Petra Kvitova’s least successful major – it’s the only one at which she has yet to reach the semifinals – but she has reached the quarterfinals twice in the past five years and is looking to reach the last eight for the third time on Sunday.

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Kvitova stopped the red-hot Jessica Pegula in the third round in straight sets, but she will have to find a way to halt the progress of another in-form American as she takes on Shelby Rogers.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Kvitova vs Rogers: Head-to-head

The head-to-head between Petra Kvitova and Shelby Rogers makes slightly bizarre reading: They have only played once, at the French Open in 2016, when Rogers won by the bipolar scoreline of 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-0.

Kvitova vs Rogers: Preview

Given that Petra Kvitova lost her only match played since February to Marie Bouzkova at the Western & Southern Open, expectations were not particularly high for the Czech, who has never really had the success on American hard courts that she has enjoyed on grass, clay or even Australian hard courts, where Kvitova made her first Grand Slam final for five years in 2019.

Kvitova did make the quarterfinals in New York twice, in 2015 and 2017, and she looks to have played herself into some form with the help of the draw: She beat Irina-Camelia Begu, more challenging on clay, 6-3, 6-2, and weathered a scrappy clash with Kateryna Kozlova, saving a set point to 7-6(3), 6-2. The real test, however, came in the third round against Pegula, who made the ‘Cincinnati’ quarterfinals with a series of impressive wins and has been recording better and better results over the past 18 months. A big serving performance from Kvitova was once again crucial as she saved five of the seven break points she faced; she failed to serve out the first set, but broke for it immediately afterwards, and recovered the break she gave up at the beginning of the second set shortly afterwards before getting her crucial break to lead 5-3, making no mistakes when it came to serving out the match.

US Open Predictions and Betting Tips: Outright winner tips for men’s & women’s singles at the 2020 US Open

A strong serving performance will be absolutely crucial for Kvitova against Rogers. The American was ranked world no. 108 when she made her surprise run to the quarterfinals of the French Open in 2016, beating Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova on the way, but thanks to injury she missed the best part of 16 months on tour in 2018-19, returning unranked in April 2019.

Shelby Rogers is a former French Open quarterfinalist (PA Images)

Rogers is already back in the top 100, thanks to the semifinal run she made at the Top Seed Open in Lexington a few weeks ago where she beat Serena Williams to make the final four. Beaten in qualifying for ‘Cincinnati’, Rogers has been looking great at the US Open, yet to drop a set in wins over Irina Khromachaeva, 11th seed Elena Rybakina and Madison Brengle.

Those are some tricky and varied opponents, and Rogers has been dealing with them in style, only twice losing more than two games in a set.
Rogers, who once trounced Simona Halep 3-6, 1-6 in the first round of the Australian Open, is a very dangerous player, a big server with big groundstrokes who can render any opponent’s game irrelevant on her day. While the scoreline of their previous meeting was extremely odd – Kvitova was feeling ‘weird’, she said herself, and was clearly very low-energy on the day – it does show that Rogers is quite capable of knocking Kvitova back on her heels, and Kvitova does not win from that position.

As with most contests between first-strike power players like this, it’s going to come down to serve and return: Who can get more cheap points on their first serve, who can rock the other player back on their heels with a big return. I don’t think Kvitova’s really playing her best tennis yet – Rogers just looks that much sharper with a lot more recent matches, and I think the American will pull off the upset.

Kvitova vs Rogers: Prediction

Sixth seed Petra Kvitova could become the latest US Open upset victim as she takes on in-form Jessica Pegula in the third round.

Kvitova vs Pegula is live from New York on Friday 4 September, time TBC

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova made her first Grand Slam final in five years at the Australian Open in 2019, but she hasn’t been past the third round at the US Open since 2017 and has never gone past the quarterfinals at her least successful major.

US Open 2020: Tournament information, schedules, latest news and live streaming information for the resilient Grand Slam in New York

Kvitova’s lack of match practice was evident when she struggled against Kateryna Kozlova in the second round, and in Jessica Pegula she has an opponent who is playing some of the best tennis of her career and looking for her second win over a top-10 player in the space of a fortnight.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Kvitova vs Pegula: Head-to-head

This will be the first match between Petra Kvitova and Jessica Pegula.

Kvitova vs Pegula: Preview

Kvitova was 12-3 in 2020 before the shutdown, having reached the semifinals in Adelaide, the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and finished runner-up to Aryna Sabalenka at the Qatar Total Open in Doha. But the Czech lost her only US Open warm-up match to Marie Bouzkova in the Western & Southern Open and the consequent lack of match practice was evident in her second-round match against Kozlova.

Having breezed through Irina-Camelia Begu, a much more challenging opponent on clay, Kvitova really struggled against Kozlova, a decent but not especially creative player. Kvitova double-faulted seven times in the first set, making 20 unforced errors, and had to save set point against Kozlova before edging the first set 7-6(3). The Czech had an easier time of it in the second set, which she won 6-2, but had Kvitova not been serving as well as she was – she only lost four points on her first serve through the match, and made 64% of first serves – she could have really been in trouble, struggling as she was to win any points behind her second serve in either set.

US Open Predictions and Betting Tips: Outright winner tips for men’s & women’s singles at the 2020 US Open

Kvitova has never been past the quarterfinals in New York and has failed to make the last 16 on her last two appearances, losing to Andrea Petkovic and Sabalenka despite making a hard-court major final at the Australian Open in that time span. The fast courts at the US Open this year should suit her, but they will also suit her in-form opponent in the third round.

Jessica Pegula is 8-2 since competition resumed (PA Images)

Jessica Pegula was not someone many people had heard of before her surprise run to the Quebec City final in 2018, but she went on to win the Citi Open last summer and started 2019 with a statement run to the Auckland final, beating CiCi Bellis, Alize Cornet and Caroline Wozniacki before losing to Serena Williams.

Since returning from the shutdown, Pegula is 8-2, beating former US Open runner-up Vera Zvonareva in Lexington before falling to Bellis, then qualifying for the Western & Southern Open and beating Lexington champion Jennifer Brady, Amanda Anisimova and Sabalenka to make the quarterfinals. At the US Open, she’s won two tough matches to make the third round for the first time, beating Bouzkova – who beat Kvitova in ‘Cincinnati’ – and crafty veteran Kirsten Flipkens to reach the last 32.

Kvitova and Pegula have never played before, but Pegula is loving these conditions and she’s full of confidence right now. She’ll take the match to Kvitova, and from the Czech’s performances so far, it doesn’t look to me like Kvitova will be ready for it. Kvitova’s ground game is not honed as yet, and if she doesn’t have an absolutely superlative serving day, she’ll found herself on the back foot at the start of every rally.

Kvitova vs Pegula: Prediction