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.
Petra did not play badly at all apart from a loose spell near the beginning of set one when she went 4-0 down. However, after that the match was quite competitive, but Petra could just not hit through Barbora, who just played a smart match. It was a weird match. There was zero ‘POJD!’s from Petra. There was zero ‘YES!’s from Barbora until the very end of the match.
Petra Kvitova has an excellent record against fellow Czechs and hates losing to them. You could see that after set one when the headband came off and she really knuckled down. She played well but still could not put Krejcikova away who was just so good today. This is the best she has played probably since the Ostrava final against Iga last year.
Her forehand is working well, the backhand was working well, she served well returned well and the Krejcikova fan in me rejoices in that. To see Barbora playing well once again is great news.
However, the Kvitova fan in me is disappointed because Petra lost, and I hate it when Petra loses. It is also impossible not to acknowledge the sand running through the hourglass for Petra. She will be 33 in a few weeks and there are realistically only a couple of years left for her, maximum. I am in Petra-retirement denial. She has beaten Jess Pegula and Elena Rybakina already this year. She is not done. However, Krejcikova clearly has more years left so Petra kind of needs the good runs more…
So a weird, weird, weird match. I have never watched a Petra match and been less anxious about her winning. I’ve never watched a Krejcikova match and actually wanted to lose. Because ultimately I was cheering for Petra to win this. She has always been my favourite and always will be. However, if she was going lose, losing to a Barbara Krejcikova playing really really well again, it’s not the worst thing in the world.
Krejcikova now takes on Aryna Sabalenka, the 2023 Australian Open Champion, while Iga Swiatek seems on another of her crushing runs, handing out bagels to pretty much all her top class opponents!
Barbora hasn’t had the greatest start to the year in terms of her form in singles. She’s played some good tennis, but has also gone off the boil at times. In round 2 she scraped through against Daria Kasatkina, 7-5 in the third, saving 4 match points. To be fair, this was a massive choke from Kasatkina, who double faulted on two of those four match points. Barbora was extremely erratic and frankly lucky to win however, this win over Petra, showed she still has the smooth, controlled game that took her to titles in Tallinn and Ostrava at the end of 2022. Sabalenka is unbeaten in 2023 – 13 wins in a row. Can Barbora end it! Probably not but fingers crossed the defeat of my beloved Petra wasn’t for nothing!