OK, so you know what I said about my favourites losing? Well forget it because today is a glorious day! Petra Kvitova beat world number 2 and the top seed at the WTA Dubai tournament 6-4, 6-4.
For me, Petra in full flight, hitting unbelievable winners and really going for her shots is why I became a fan. Her game is thrilling and beautiful to watch. Sabalenka has a bruising game and matched with her loud grunts, it is less pretty. I do kind of like her though, and the way she has fought through these serving woes is admirable. The way she overpowers opponents is not unlike young Petra. But today, she had no answers. Petra served well (although ended up with 6 double faults like Sabalenka! However, she cancelled them out with 7 aces and at key moments.)
So back to the quarter finals of a tournament and a duel with Jelena Ostapenko – another big hitter, possible more brainless than Sabalenka at times, however she has been getting better with some good results lately. She really should have beaten Krejcikova at the Australian Open but Barbora battled back and played calmer. Calm. Not a word associated with Ostapenko very often! She has THE most hilarious facial expressions on the tour and quite often behaves appallingly, but I quite like her. Another all or nothing player, she puts it everything out there, win or lose. Plus she seems to just love playing tennis – she always plays singles and doubles. She paired up with Siniakova to win the Kremlin Cup in Moscow at the end of last hear and those two were a fun pairing! The strop sisters were pretty brilliant, but it was funny watching them both be on their best behaviour and try to not moan at each other. Actually Ostapenko was a real Katka cheerleader as Siniakova’s double prowess really made the difference with the way she poached at the net. Anyway, I will of course be cheering for my dear Petra tomorrow.
Petra’s win today was her first top 10 win since beating Ash Barty 2 years ago in Doha – when she went on to lose to Sabalenka in the final. Sabalenka has become a lot more consistent since then, hence her world number 2 ranking, but has started the year struggling in serve big time. She served 42 double faults in her 3 matches at the Year End Championships in Guadalajara, and in 2022 so far she has served 104 in her 7 matches. By those numbers, that Sabalenka only served 6 today is good news for her, but really this match was all about Petra.
Incidentally, my other favourite, Barbora Krejcikova lost to Dayana Yastremska today. I have been leaning into Barbora as my next favourite but it says something about where my heart lies that I didn’t feel too upset over Barbora’s loss. She had been sluggish in her opening match against Caroline Garcia and Yastremska is a dangerous, if truly obnoxious, player. I think it didn’t hurt too much because a) I was happy Petra won and b) I’m more confident she will have a fair stack of wins this year. Krejcikova has had very few bad losses since her RG triumph. A poor run at the end of 2021 seemed to be the amazing year in singles and doubles catching up with her.
Slightly more worrying was that Bara went out of the doubles later in the day. It must be tough to pick yourself up after losing disappointingly in singles, but she was off her game throughout against veterans Sania Mirza and Czech, Lucie Hradecka. After losing the first set in a tie break, Bara and Katka went 3-0 up but hitting the smash to win that third game tweaked somehing in Barbora’s arm and they lost the next 4 games before Barbora called it a day. Disappointing, amd Katka’s first loss in doubles since the BJK cup finals in November.
I also have no desire to watch the replay of Krejcikova’s singles match while I am about to go and watch a replay of Petra’s match!