Kvitova Osaka Final Aus Open Preview
Petra Kvitova and Naomi Osaka will lock horns in the years first grand slam final in Melbourne. Kvitova beating American Danielle Collins in a match interrupted by the Australian Open heat rule and Osaka came through a topsy turvy game against Karolina Pliskova, the conqueror of Serena Williams. Both grand slam champions before both with a lot on the line and keen to seize the moment this Australian Open final has the makings of a classic.
If the WTA could hand pick to players to showcase womens tennis they would have trouble selecting two players who are as admired and respected in the game. Petra Kvitova is a two time Wimbledon champion, a leftie who on her day is the match of any player. Osaka is the darling of the game. Her press conferences have become famous for their honesty and openness. She is perhaps best known for the US Open 2018 in which she beat Serena Williams off the court and Williams couldn’t contain her emotions. Im sure you know the rest.
Why Petra Kvitova will win?
Petra has always hit the ball cleanly. This Australian Open she has really found the sweet spot with the ball hitting the middle of the strings almost every time. There can be no doubt she is a fantastic game and can reach the highest of highs on court. Petra at times can be inconsistent. Although in 2018 she won 5 tournaments and returned to the top 5, her grand slam performances were quite poor. I had even predicted her to win Wimbledon and she left me looking a little silly.
This is the final challenge for Petra. In 2016 she endured a horrible attack at her own when her hitting hand was sliced open in a robbery at her apartment in the Czech Republic. Her recovery has been amazing and to play tennis and return to the tour has been nothing short of remarkable. If Petra can win the Australian Open this will be the final stage of her recovery. It would be a great story for Petra and no doubt we will be reminded of just how serious an injury it was and how far she has come.
Why Naomi Osaka will win?
Naomi Osaka is a grand slam champion in her own right. She played fearless tennis in New York and beat big favourite Serena Williams. Sadly her moment was stolen from her by Williams. For Osaka on a personal level it is great that she has an opportunity so soon since September to exorcise the ghosts of Flushing Meadows. She will win grand slams in the future and rightfully get to enjoy the moment. Osaka has played awesome this fortnight. Her on court demeanour has improved dramatically from her semi final loss in Brisbane. She is able to let go of her angst almost instantly and re engage her brain in the game.
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Number One ranking at stake
This adds another level of interest to the game in Melbourne. Whomever wins on Saturday will also seal the number one ranking for the first time. Clearly this is a massive bonus. Both ladies have been close before but never sealed the number 1 ranking. It is universally expected that Naomi Osaka will likely be number one in the future especially given her age and talent. Petra was ranked second before but never been at the top of the tree. Infact she was one victory away from number one in 2012. A victory for Kvitova really would be extra special and would present the cherry on top of a third slam victory for the Czech.
How will the match play out?
This will be the first meeting of the two ladies. Both have long fast strokes and enjoy moving the ball around the court. There will be plenty of winning shots made from both wings. What seems to be key to each lady is the first set. Both players have a strong correlation between winning the first set and winning the match. The first set will be key to the outcome of this final. It is extremely hard to pick. Petra will attempt to swing the leftie serve way out to the advantage court. She will be trying the one two punch as often as she can.
Osaka has a very good defensive game and covers the courts incredibly well but she is known as an out and out attacking player. Kvitova will look to jam her up with the body serve on both sides. I have absolutely no idea how valuable these skills will be on court or if they will transpire at all. In my head I am trying to play out some points in my head. How has Osaka handled lefties before? Does Kvitova go toe to toe with an attacking player or try to negate the power? Perhaps we will be surprised how the rallies go.
This is a huge game for tennis. I for one am happy to see these ladies in the final. It is good for the women’s game. If the match lives up to even half of hype then its gonna be awesome .