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