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

hannahwilks in French Open 02 Oct 2020
Petra Kvitova (Aurelien Morissard / IP3)

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.

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

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

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