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

hannahwilks in French Open 07 Oct 2020
Sofia Kenin (Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA)

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.

French Open 2020: Find out tournament information for Roland Garros 2020 and how to stream French Open matches live

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