After a difficult 2022 Barbara Krejcikova found her form this week in Tallinn, Estonia. A new event due to the cancellation of the China swing, this event was a big deal for Estonian tennis fans and their top players, Kaia Kanepi and Anett Kontaveit. However, the big story was the return of Barbora Krejcikova to the winners circle in singles with this title, her fourth WTA singles title overall and her first of the year. And it was the manner of that victory that was notable. This is a WTA 250 event but Krejcikova won it in impressive style – her first four opponents were players she had never beaten before.
The Y̶e̶a̶r̶ Month of the Kat
In my list of favourite tennis players, Katerina Siniakova is usually mainly part of the doubles team I cheer for most. The 2022 US Open, saw Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova take the title to complete an amazing set this year. They have won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, three Grand Slams, 18 matches undefeated. The only reason they could not defend the Roland-Garros title was because Krejcikova contracted Covid. Amazing dominance and it completes a sixth Grand Slam women’s doubles title for the pair along with an Olympic gold medal and the 2021 year end championship. Truly one of the best teams of recent years.
US Open half time recap
The US Open 2022 is at its half way mark with 4th round matches starting today.
The good news for Petra fans is she is still in the tournament, after an epic win over Garbiñe Muguruza on Armstrong on Saturday. However, the big news of the week has been the Serena Williams show with the great champion bowing out with a thrilling run to the third round.
So near and yet so far …
This week she beat several players that she has lost to recently. Teichmann beat her in the first round of Madrid, In round two she defeated Sorana Cirstea, someone who has beaten her twice at the last two Australian opens. In round three Petra was up against number five seed Ons Jabeur. Ons recently made the Wimbledon final and has been one of the best players of 2022. However Petra has always done well against her and had a faultless lead in the head-to-head until Ons finally got the win in Sydney at the start of 2022. However she has struggled a bit since making the Wimbledon final and Petra beat her 6-1, 4-6, 6-love. Apart from that middle set, 6-1 and 6-love against the world number five? Impressive stuff.
It’s been too long….
Since the last column, it has been a pretty good time to be a Petra Kvitova fan! After a disappointing clay court season, Kvitova took a loss to Beatriz Haddad Maia in R1 of the Birmingham tournament – a tournament Petra has won twice – the omens were not good. What an absolute joy then that she entered the WTA 500 event in Eastbourne and won her 29th title in amazing style!
Ups and Downs …
So the Miami tournament was a pretty good one for Petra Kvitova, where she made the quarter finals, losing out to eventual champion and new world number 1 Iga Swiatek.
The match that made us Petra fans rejoice was the 4th round win over Veronika Kudermatova. Petra won a tight first set in the tie break but quickly fell 0-4, 0-40 down. A final set seemed inevitable but amazingly she found her best fighting form and won the next 6 games to win 7-6, 6-4. What was most encouraging is Petra seemed to have her confidence, her mojo back!
Queen Ash retires…
A bombshell in the tennis world today as world number 1 and the reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion, Ashleigh Barty announced her retirement from tennis. Aged just 25, Barty has always been an atypical tennis player. A top junior snd successful doubles player as a teenager, Barty walked away from tennis after finding the grind of the tour not conducive to her mental health. Barty was away for a couple of years, and played cricket in her native Australia, before returning to the tour in 2016
I first saw Barty live at the Birmingham WTA event, beating Garbiñe Muguruza in the semi-finals. I was paying more attention to Petra Kvitova, who beat Barty the following day in the final – her first title after returning from the hand injury sustained in a knife attack. That fairy tale return victory was a three set battle with Barty. Indeed, Petra vs Ash has been a compelling rivalry over the last few years.
The Ladies Killing it …
It’s March and the WTA tour is up to the Sunshine double – Indian Wells and Miami, two WTA1000 events. World number 1 Ash Barty is staying at home in Australia – that stroll to the Australian Open title took it out of her – and my other fave, Barbora Krejcikova is unfortunately injured. Krejcikova is up to world number 2 and would have been the top seed at Indian Wells, but that arm injury she picked up in Doha ruled her out. its unclear if she will be back for Miami, but a good chance for the other form players to overtake her and bag themselves a big title.
Surprise package of the year so far is undoubtedly Jelena Ostapenko. She took the title in Dubai and made the semis in Doha with some scintillating tennis. Ostapenko is one of the most entertaining players to watch on the tour. She has THE best facial expressions and her all out, all or nothing game is pretty devastating. She beat my beloved Petra in the QF, in a match Petra should have win. She served for every set and had match points, but Ostapenko was that bit more fearless at the key moments. Ostapenko then beat my other fave, Krejcikova and demolished my current nemesis, Garbiñe Muguruza in Doha. That was a real schadenfreude moment. Ostapenko ran out of steam against one of the other form players, Anett Kontaveit, who similarly ran up against a peaking Iga Swiatek in the final.
Krejcikova hits the heights!
New world number 2! Its funny the way things go as Barbora Krejcikova just had her most disappointing couple of weeks in the middle east swing, winning 2 and losing 2 matches. The losses to Yastremska and the red hot Ostapenko were, in retrospect, not awful, but still were surprising, especially the rather flat way she played. She now equals the highest ranking of her mentor, Jana Novotna and fellow Czech Petra Kvitova. Krejcikova is currently world number 2 in both singles and doubles.
Some achievement! Krejcikova will stay pretty high in the rankings until Roland Garros, regardless of how the next few months go, but after excellent consistency following that slam win, I hope she can pick up her form after a pretty flat middle east swing and shine again in the US sunshine double of Indian Wells and Miami.
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.)