#25 Petra Kvitova
#2 Vera Zvonareva
Petra Kvitova might have the highest rating of any player left in the women’s side of the draw in the Australian Open, but she certainly is a woman to watch out for. The 20 year old up and comer is going to take on the No. 2 ranked player in the world, Vera Zvonareva.
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Believe it or not, Kvitova is aiming for her second semifinal in a Grand Slam event, pulling off the feat at Wimbledon last year. Not bad for a 20 year old, eh? It hasn’t always been easy, but the Czech star has really had a great run to this point. In the third round, she disappointed the hometown crowd when she knocked out No. 5 Samantha Stosur, the top Aussie in this field, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. Things might have been significantly different had she blown that tiebreaker, but that was really the turning point in the match. In the fourth round, Kvitova was up against it for a second time, dropping the first set to No. 22 Flavia Pennetta. However, she stormed back and won the final two sets, ending up with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory to reach the quarters. Kvitova is doing all of the little things that she needs to do to win matches. She might not have a great first service percentage in terms of getting shots in, but she has had three great matches out of four on her second serve. A whopping 43 unforced errors marred the three set win against Pennetta on Monday, and this is something that really needs to improve if she is going to knock off Zvonareva.
Zvonareva is one of the most unheralded players on the WTA Tour, and it almost seems like she is the forgotten star in this tournament. Part of the problem is that she has been the runner up in back to back Grand Slam tournaments and that she has never won. The Russian has only dropped one set en route to the quarterfinals. She hasn’t played a player that has been ranked better than No. 31 in the world, and she really had to struggle with Lucie Safarova has well, winning 6-3, 7-6 (11-9). The key for Zvonareva is going to be getting her first serves in. She really didn’t do all that well in her first few matches, but this fourth round showing against Iveta Benesova was fantastic. She put in 70 percent of her first serves and won two thirds of those points. The Russian has won over 70 percent of her first service points in this tournament, and though she isn’t playing that well on her second serve, but she has the goods, especially with eight aces, to put away any foe on the WTA Tour.
This one should be awfully close, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it takes all three sets to be able to decide it. We’re going to be Kvitova though, as she could be in store for the upset to march on to another semifinal.
Australian Open Free Pick: Petra Kvitova +160 at BetPhoenix
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