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!
The quarter final against Swiatek was an interesting one. Iga had been playing so well, I did fear Petra might get blown away. However, Petra definitely had the greater weight of shot and some nice winners. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get hold of Iga’s second serve and made a few too many errors. Iga went on to roll over Naomi Osaka in the final 6-4, 6-0. Good to see Osaka back in finals but her lack of tight matches showed and she faded badly. She handled Iga’s second serve worse than Petra! Naomi and Iga have a very cute friendship. Iga was someone Naomi practiced with and did an Instagram live chat when she was world number 1. Osaka is now back up to the top 40 with this SF run and will surely be back in the top 20 or top 10 soon. However it is her least successful part of the year coming up – clay and grass. We might need to wait for the US hardcourt swing to see her win titles, however there is no expectation or pressure on her this year and she could sneak a few good wins.
Unfortunately Petra just went out in round 1 of Charleston after having to withdraw. The sticky green American clay has never been a favourite of Petra’s but she had started the match striking the ball confidently so her inability to close the first set and then the thigh strain from an ill advised slide was unfortunate.
Meanwhile, after just a few short weeks of undisputed world number 1 Ash Barty’s shadow looming over the tour, Iga Swiatek looks the new number 1 by a wide margin! She won Miami to take the third WTA1000 of the year and the Sunshine double of Indian Wells/Miami. Iga is getting better and better and now looks like the dominant player with her favourite surface, clay, about to start. Iga has done a fantastic job of recovering after being swatted off court by Danielle Collins in the AO SF. Since then, only a red hot Ostapenko has beaten her I think. On the other hand, I have always worried a bit about how hard Iga can take losses. Her tears at the Olympics and in Guadalajara after losses were strong reactions. She is playing with massive confidence right now. a real shame we can’t see her test herself against Barty.
There are quite a few doubts over a number of players right now. Halep and Muguruza withdrew from Miami with injuries. Viktoria Azarenka bizarrely walked off court when being well beated by Czech youngster Linda Fruhvirtova then announced she was taking a break. Elina Svitolina has been struggling with a back strain but also the Ukraine war taking its toll in her. Barbora Krejcikova is still absent with a niggling elbow injury that has kept her off the tour for the last few months. Paula Badosa has been ill again. Aryna Sabalenka still badly out of form. Anett Kontaveit has lost a bit of her mojo. Ons and Sakkari are still doing well but both have a meagre ONE WTA250 title each. Only Iga is really impressing right now.
Interesting times ahead…