Match Review: Petra Kvitova v Kristyna Pliskova

My feature match on the second day of action at the Volvo Car Open was an all Czech battle between second seed Petra Kvitova and Kristyna Pliskova and in the end, this match ended up producing the biggest upset of the event so far as Pliskova got the 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 win. Overall, Kvitova was never on her game until parts of the third set as she missed a lot of first serves and, especially on the backhand, made a lot of loose errors with the only real strong point in the first two sets being her return. It was a dismal opener for Pliskova as she was weak in all areas of her game before she upped it in the second but we did not see some of her best tennis until the third set when she fought off a Kvitova who was not playing badly in parts of that set.

Set 1

The start of the match was interesting as it looked like Petra Kvitova was feeling good in the first game as she broke with some big forehands but that all changed after she played a horrendous opening service game with a double fault and attackable serves for Kristyna Pliskova to immediately break back. Kvitova broke again in the next game before getting the first service hold of the match for 1-3 after Pliskova fell mid-game which may have rattled her rhythm. That fall may have been the pivotal moment of the opening set because even though it was not too serious, Pliskova was never really able to play good tennis from that point. That was evident from the very next game as Pliskova was not able to execute her forehand with any accuracy or power and that cost her the double break for 1-4 as well as failing to break in that sixth game despite Kvitova looking vulnerable and hitting two double faults. The opener was not a great display from either but it was a lot worse for Pliskova as in the end, Kvitova ended up getting her fifth straight game and fourth break for the 1-6 set.

Set 2

From the start of this set, we saw a change in Kristyna Pliskova as she was looking to stake out behind the baseline and focus on staying in the rally while waiting for her opportunity. That took her to break to open the set, which was also helped by back to back Petra Kvitova double faults, and then Pliskova was able to start firing her big serve and hold easily for 2-0. The game proceeding that was the sole game that Kvitova won in that second set because after that her game did start to decline slightly from the already sub-par form she was showing. Pliskova also played some really stellar tennis as she fired through a service game for 3-1 and then managed to get the double break after a game with a couple of unplayable returns. At that point, Kvitova was 4-1 down and she almost decided to let this set go and focus on coming out ready to play in the decider as she lost a lot of the depth she had and she also struggled to land the big serves when she needed to try and close out games as the set went to Pliskova with three service breaks.

Set 3

This was the most entertaining set because both women wanted it badly so it was most impressive that Kristyna Pliskova was able to get it done against a better than average Petra Kvitova. We saw this from game 1 as Pliskova was patient while rallying until she saw an opportunity to strike a winner. It was frustrating for Kvitova because what she was doing is normally enough in a second round but Pliskova started being defensive and got the extra ball back until the error came and that helped her to break before holding to love for 3-0. Kvitova showed she wasn’t done as she held from there but then Pliskova seemed to wear her down in Kvitova’s next service game and she was broken for 5-1. The match got interesting here as Pliskova started well with good serving but when match points came, Kvitova got a burst of energy and hit great shots to save three match points and break. She saved another in her next service game but ultimately they were the only points she was performing on and Pliskova got a good serve in on one and converted her seventh match point for the win.

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