Match Preview: Petra Kvitova v Kiki Bertens

It is the fourth day of the Rogers Cup today with the quarterfinal places being filled and an upcoming third round on Banque Nationale, the fourth match on the court for the day, sees the Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova take on Kiki Bertens from the Netherlands. The odds for this match are relatively tight, which is not surprising given how well these women have been playing this season, and Kvitova is the favorite to go into the quarterfinals.

Recent Form

It has been such an incredible season for Petra Kvitova, especially when you acknowledge that she only returned from a terrible injury that she suffered in a knife attack just over twelve months ago, but Kvitova did struggle at Wimbledon despite going in as one of the favorites. The clay court season was just incredible from Kvitova as she first stormed to the title at the Prague Open in her home nation with wins over Katerina Siniakova, Shuai Zhang and Mihaela Buzarnescu for the twenty-third title of her career. Even more impressive than that, she managed to turn around the very next week and win a third Mutua Madrid Open title after a week that saw wins over Kiki Bertens, Daria Kasatkina, and Karolina Pliskova. After winning her first two rounds at the French Open, Kvitova lost her thirteen match win streak after she went out to Anett Kontaveit in the third round of the clay grand slam. The return to her preferred grass season was very successful for Kvitova as she won her second Birmingham Classic title with another amazing week which saw wins over Mihaela Buzarnescu, Magdalena Rybarikova, and Julia Goerges. She played the week after at the Eastbourne International but she pulled out prior to her third-round match with Agnieszka Radwanska. Going into the Wimbledon Championships, Kvitova was one of the top favorites but she took one of the most surprising losses of the season by going out to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round. Kvitova took a couple of weeks off after that crushing loss but she returned to the match court this week and started with a great 6-3, 6-4 victory over Anett Kontaveit. This has been one of the best seasons for Kiki Bertens as she has constantly impressed, even in events where you would not expect her to. The end of the clay season was a bit underwhelming for Bertens considering how well she started it as she went to the Italian Open slightly fatigued after a run to the final in Madrid and she went out to Maria Sakkari in the first round, she then went down to Kirsten Flipkens in the quarterfinals of the Nürnberger Versucherungscup in a very tight three-set match before she ended her clay season with Angelique Kerber taking her down in the third round of the French Open. There weren’t the highest hopes on Bertens heading into the grass swing, which is historically her worst part of the season, and that showed in her start with a second-round loss at the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships to Kirsten Flipkens, then a second-round loss to Mihaela Buzarnescu at the Eastbourne International but then Bertens really showed up at the Wimbledon Championships to post a best-ever result of the quarterfinals before Julia Goerges got the better of her. It has been an excellent week so far for Bertens as she has flown through her first two rounds, with an especially great 6-2, 6-2 win over Karolina Pliskova in the second round. The heavy edge in confidence has to go to Kvitova despite that Wimbledon loss, and this is because she has won three titles in the space of a couple of months and that is what many players would be happy with over a career.

Montreal/Toronto Record

This has not always been the best of playing grounds for Petra Kvitova, but she has achieved some really great runs here to get an average result of the third round from a total of ten appearances. The best result at the Rogers Cup for Kvitova was back in 2012 when she captured the ninth title of her career with a week that saw wins over three slam champions in Marion Bartoli, Caroline Wozniacki, and Li Na. There have also been results at the complete opposite of the spectrum of success for Kvitova here with her worst year at the Rogers Cup being her debut in 2009 when she won a single game in her qualifying second-round loss to Maria Kirilenko. This event has actually been played sparsely by Kiki Bertens with just three previous appearances, and she has an average result of the second round from those appearances. The second round is also Bertens best result at the Rogers Cup, and she has gotten there twice in 2012, before going down to Caroline Wozniacki, and then again in 2013 before going down to Kirsten Flipkens. The only other time Bertens has played in Canada was in 2014 and she failed to win a match with Klara Koukalova taking her out in the first round. The distinct edge in how comfortable these women feel at the Rogers Cup has to go to Kvitova due to how much more she has played the event and because she is a former champion.

Head to Head Record

Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens have played each other twice before, with those meetings coming on grass and clay courts, and Kvitova winning both to lead their head-to-head record 2-0. The first time they played was in 2015 at the Wimbledon Championships on grass and there was no trouble for second seed Kvitova in the first round match as she breezed straight past Bertens 6-1, 6-0. This result is not that surprising because it is on grass, which is Kvitova’s favorite surface and Berten’s least favorite surface, and it was at the start of Kvitova’s title defense so she would have been full of energy. I suspect that Bertens just was not able to get stuck into any rallies and Kvitova was just whacking winners past her. Their most recent meeting was earlier this year and it was a thrilling match in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open, as tenth seed Kvitova fought back from a break down in the third set to defeat Bertens 7-6(8-6), 4-6, 6-3. This was such a high-quality match and there was not too much more that Bertens could have done because she played really well and was just so good and grinding out rallies but what just got Kvitova over the line was Bertens struggling with some nerves which allowed her to really take big swings at the ball and just hit a flurry of winners.

My Prediction

I think that this is a very tough match for Kiki Bertens because her game style of just hitting aggressively into the right places is so much harder when Petra Kvitova is on the other side of the net because her balls will come at Bertens with so much pace and generally angle. I think that it will be a really tight start because both will come out playing well but Kvitova won’t have quite reached her full-flowing tennis but from about 3-3 in the opener, the Czech two-time grand slam champion will start finding her rhytm and race off to take the opening set 6-3. I think that Kvitova will just continue with that momentum in the second with Bertens being lucky to hold serve here or there as Kvitova secures the dominant 6-3, 6-2 win.

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