So Roland Garros 2023 has been a total disaster for my favourites! Petra Kvitova, Barbora Krejcikova, Katerina Siniaková and the doubles team of Krejcikova and Siniaková all lost in the first round! These losses were all not totally unexpected but still pretty disappointing.
Petra Kvitova hasn’t won a match since the Miracle in Miami ™. One loss to Jule Neimeir in Madrid and a leg injury has kept her off the court since. Petra is not a fan of the clay and the plucky Elizabeth Cocciaretto was a deserved winner over a rusty looking Petra. Fingers crossed the grass brings more success.
So the last few weeks have not seen my usual favourites make much of a splash on the WTA tour. Instead, it has all been about Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, who seem to have distanced themselves at the top the women’s rankings in 2023. World number 1 Swiatek won her second successive title at the WTA500 in Stuttgart, beating Sabalenka in straight sets in the final. Advantage Iga. However, his week, Sabalenka got her revenge, beating Swiatek in the WTA1000 Madrid Open final in 3 tight sets for her second Madrid title. Deuce!
Sabalenka really needed to get this win after a relatively straightforward win for Swiatek in Stuttgart. As a former champion in Madrid, where big ball strikers often thrive in the high altitude conditions, Sabalenka looked on a mission and quite honestly, should have won in straight sets. One loose game in set 2 gave Iga the edge but her aggressive game had Iga scrambling and she was a deserved winner.
In Stuttgart, Iga was the more confident one – again, as a former champion. Once Sabalenka let her level drop a little at 3-3 in the first set, it was kind of game over!
With Rome and Roland Garros coming up, where Iga is defending champion, it will be fascinating to see if she rolls through or whether Sabalenka can reproduce this form on the slower clay.
The victory at Miami open in 2023, for Petra Kvitova, was a truly a great achievement. Her biggest title in 5 years and an historic 30th career title and 9th 1000 level trophy. For many people, this one came as a big surprise so how did Petra manage to win?
Firstly, this was not completely out of the blue. Petra had had some good wins in 2023 including wins over Jess Pegula and Rybakina and a run to the quarter-finals in Indian Wells. And despite the fact she’s never been a fan of humid conditions, she has had some good results in Miami in the past. She made the quarter-finals last year and had a decent run the year before as well. So this did not come out of nowhere. Petra has been playing decent tennis but just had not gone that deep in tournaments so far this year. Plus, this is Petra we are talking about! Someone with possibly the highest peak – apart from Serena – of recent times.
What a week in Miami, and what a week to be a Petra Kvitova fan! Yes, Petra did it. She won the WTA 1000 tournament in Miami, a 30th career title and the win puts her back into the WTA top 10. In the final on 1st April, Petra beat favourite Elena Rybakina, who was going for the Sunshine Double after taking the title in Indian Wells a few weeks back. Rybakina was the heavy favourite after having a great start to the 2023 season, but this was no April Fools Day trick, Petra Kvitova really won her 9th WTA1000 level title, the biggest win since the Madrid 1000 in 2018.
The WTA 1000 tournament in Indian Wells finished this weekend and I was delighted to celebrate title number 15 for Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the women’s doubles. Following on from winning the 2023 Australian Open title, this cemented them even more firmly as the undisputed number one team, and giving them an 11-0 record this year,
The women’s singles champion was Elena Rybakina who defeated Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets for her first WTA1000 level title.
The WTA1000 event at Indian Wells is sometimes known as the fifth Grand Slam. At least that’s what Indian Wells would like to be, however one difference is that players do not get a day off in between every match. And what a two days it has been for Petra Kvitova. In my previous post, I talked about Krejcikova losing to Sabalenka and Petra Kvitova due to play Jessica Pegula later that day. Pegula is the world number three and has been playing probably about the most consistent tennis in the last 12 months, bar Iga Świątek.
Having come through the rollercoaster match with Jelena Ostapenko, Petra was back on court on Tuesday to play Jessica Pegula in the fourth round.
On Oscar night in Hollywood and the third round at Indian Wells, it really was a case of Everything Everywhere All At Once! My nightmare came true and Petra Kvitova and Barbora Krejcikova‘s matches happened at exactly the same time. For me, this was actually a test of who is my real favourite as it was Petra‘s match I ended up watching more closely as I double screened on my tv and iPad. It was partly because what a crazy, crazy crazy match the Kvitova Ostapenko match was.
Today was the final of the Dubai Duty Free classic WTA1000 in Dubai, the first 1000 level event of the year. It was won superbly, by Barbara Krejcikova who beat Iga Świątek, the world number one and hot favourite, in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 to give a Krejcikova the 6th singles title of her career and her first WTA1000 level title. Krejcikova also achieved something remarkable – beating the three top ranked players in one week – actually on successive days!
Such a weird match today in the third round of the Dubai Duty Free classic. My two favourite players, Petra Kvitova and Barbara Krejcikova played against each other, and I honestly did not know who I was cheering for!
Okay, not quite true. I will always cheer for Petra, no matter what. However, this match ended in a convincing win for Krejcikova and I could not be totally unhappy. Yes that sounds weird. When Petra loses I’m usually very sad. However Krejcikova played really well. Very controlled calm performance with Barbora’s forehand working really really well. She served well, returned well, moved well, defended well. As a Krejcikova fan for 2 years now, this was the first time I’ve watched and not really wanted her to win, but having said that, I did really like that she played so well.
It’s the end of January 2023, and after one month of the new season plenty has happened.
The Australian Open 2023 was very entertaining and ended with a great win for Aryna Sabalenka. Sabalenka has been a top-10 player for five years but has always fallen short in Grand Slams. It took several years for her to make a second week, but she has made a few semifinals, but stumbled at that stage. Notably, the 2021 US Open where she allowed Layla Fernandez back into the match and even the 2022 US Open saw her lead Swiatek by a set but lose. However, she began the 2023 season really well. She took the title in Adelaide and went through to the Australian Open final without dropping a set.
Her opponent in the final was the Wimbledon champion, Elena Rybakina, who has been a players I’ve admired for a while. Rybakina backed up her Wimbledon win very very well with a fantastic run to the final. A run that included a very convincing win over the world number one Iga Świątek.