Petra Kvitova vs Ashleigh Barty, Birmingham Final Preview

WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham Final Preview
🏆 (7/wc) 🇨🇿 Petra Kvitova vs 🇦🇺 Ashleigh Barty

Just 6 months after a horrific incident, Petra Kvitova is into the final in her second tournament back to the tour. Kvitova comes up against an ever-improving Ashleigh Barty in Sunday’s final at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham. Both Kvitova and Barty are both at their best on a grass court, both bring good form into this final, winning the title would mean so much to both players for different reasons here, a hotly contested final is to be expected. It would be a big win a very emotional victory for Kvitova this early in her comeback whilst Barty is playing in the biggest final of her career and has a chance to reach the top 50 in rankings for the first time with a victory here.

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Garbine Muguruza vs Ashleigh Barty, Birmingham SF Preview

WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham SF Preview
SF #2: (6) 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza vs 🇦🇺 Ashleigh Barty

Saturday’ second semi-final from the Aegon Classic in Birmingham sees the sixth seeded Garbine Muguruza take on this week’s shock semi-finalist: Ashleigh Barty. Garbine Muguruza will be aiming to reach her first final on a grass court since Wimbledon 2015 whilst Ashleigh Barty will be playing to reach her first ever final at a premier level event. In bizarre circumstances, both Muguruza and Barty secured their place in the semi-finals via a retirement, so both will enter this clash fresh, a first time meetings between the pair looms as a fascinating encounter.

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Petra Kvitova vs Lucie Safarova, Birmingham SF Preview

WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham SF Preview
SF #1: (7/wc) 🇨🇿 Petra Kvitova vs 🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova

Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova will go head-to-head for the tenth time when they meet at the semi-final of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham on Saturday. Kvitova has dominated Safarova, winning all nine of their previous encounters, the majority of which have been in straight sets. Safarova will enter this match with nothing to lose having come through two matches this week where she was match points down, with a mindset of having nothing to lose, Safarova is a threat. Nevertheless, Kvitova will enter this match as a big favourite, Petra is full of confidence having not dropped a set this week and will be the fresher of the pair, having spent far less time on court than Safarova.

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Ashleigh Barty vs Camila Giorgi, Birmingham QF Preview

WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham QF Preview
QF #4: 🇦🇺 Ashleigh Barty vs (Q) 🇮🇹 Camila Giorgi

Friday’s fourth and final quarter-final of the day at the Aegon Classic looms as the most open match of the day where a big opportunity presents itself to both Ashleigh Barty and Camila Giorgi to make a rare semi-final appearance at a premier level event. Grass is the preferred surface of both Barty and Giorgi, both have been playing great tennis this week and head into this clash full of confidence, this has the makings of a high quality, tight contest between two powerful strikers. 

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Garbine Muguruza vs CoCo Vandeweghe, Birmingham QF Preview

WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham QF Preview
QF #3: (6) 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza vs 🇺🇸 CoCo Vandeweghe

Garbine Muguruza and CoCo Vandeweghe will renew hostilities when they collide at the quarter-final stage of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham on Friday. Vandeweghe has had the better of Muguruza in the past, Vandeweghe comfortably beat the Spaniard in straight sets at the quarter-final stage of the Australia Open earlier this year and has also won both of the previous matches between the pair on a grass court. A determined Muguruza will desperate to get a win over Vandeweghe here, it will be interesting to see if Muguruza can find a winning formula over the American on Vandeweghe’s most preferred surface, she is certainly capable.

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Kristina Mladenovic vs Petra Kvitova, Birmingham QF Preview

WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham QF Preview
QF #2: (5) 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic vs (7/wc) 🇨🇿 Petra Kvitova

A blockbuster quarter-final clash at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham sees an in-form Kristina Mladenovic come up against a resurgent Petra Kvitova. This promises to be an exciting first-strike battle between two players that love to dominant with their huge forehands. Kvitova has had a clear edge over Mladenovic in their previous few matches but the Frenchwoman has vastly improved in 2017 and bring better form and match hardness into this quarter-final clash. Kvitova has traditionally been one of the most competent players on grass, this match against Mladenovic is a great test for Kvitova to see where she is at early in her comeback to the tour after a horrific injury in the off-season.

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Daria Gavrilova vs Lucie Safarova, Birmingham QF Preview

WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham QF Preview
QF #1: (9) 🇦🇺 Daria Gavrilova vs 🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova

Daria Gavrilova will look to square her head-to-head series with Lucie Safarova when the pair meet at the quarter-final stage at the Aegon Classic on Friday in Birmingham. This will be the 6th meeting between the pair, Safarova currently holds a 3-2 record over the Aussie, all five of their previous matches have been on a hard court. Gavrilova and Safarova have both been greatly challenged on route to the final 8 and are seemingly primed to contest an extremely tight, hard-fought encounter with a spot in the semi-finals up for grabs. Both Gavrilova and Safarova are coming off first round exits at Roland Garros so will be looking to build momentum ahead of Wimbledon where a similar result would be a disastrous result for both ladies.

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Johanna Konta vs CoCo Vandeweghe, Birmingham R2 Preview

WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham R2 Preview
(4) 🇬🇧 Johanna Konta vs 🇺🇸 CoCo Vandeweghe

An intriguing second round clash in Birmingham sees two of the best servers on tour go head-to-head, Johanna Konta and CoCo Vandeweghe. Expect long rallies to be few and far between when these two collide in a match that features two of the most aggressive players on tour. If Vandeweghe can bring her best, she is good enough to beat anyone on this surface but it is Konta who is the far more consistent player which will make her tough for the American to handle. This should be an exciting encounter between two of the most dangerous players on a grass court looking to build momentum before Wimbledon.

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Garbine Muguruza vs Alison Riske, Birmingham R2 Preview

WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham R2 Preview
(6) 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza vs 🇺🇸 Alison Riske

Garbine Muguruza continues her Birmingham campaign on Thursday with a potentially difficult second round clash against Alison Riske. The Spaniard scrapped through her opening round match of the tournament against Elizaveta Kulichkova and will need to produce an improved performance if she is to get past grass-court specialist Alison Riske. This will be the first career meeting between Muguruza and Riske.

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Barbora Strycova vs Madison Keys, Birmingham Championship match preview

Aegon Classic, Birmingham Championship Match Preview + Prediction
🇨🇿 Barbora Strycova vs (7) 🇺🇸 Madison Keys

Barbora Strycova and Madison Keys will both be aiming to claim a second career title when the pair collide in the Aegon Classic final in Birmingham on Sunday. Strycova and Keys were both forced to come from a set down in their semi-final matches on Saturday to reach the final, both have played great tennis over the past week and will enter this clash full of confidence. This promises to be a very competitive final between two very different players and two players that would consider grass to be their best surface to p;lay on. 

 

Barbora Strycova’s maiden WTA title was all the way back in 2011, Sunday’s final in Birmingham looms as a good opportunity for the Czech to break the drought. Strycova has overcome a number of tough opponents on route to the final, recording victories over Karolina Pliskova, Heather Watson, Tsvetana Pironkova and finally CoCo Vandeweghe. Strycova booked her spot in her second final of the year with a 2-6 6-4 6-3 win over CoCo Vandeweghe. It was a gutsy win because Strycova was being totally outplayed early in the match as she found herself down a set and break. Strycova is once against showing that grass is probably her best surface.

Madison Keys will move into the top 10 in the rankings for the first time in her career courtesy of reaching the final in Birmingham. It has been a very positive start to the grass court season for Keys. The American started the week with straight set wins over Timea Babos and Tamira Paszek before coming from a set down to defeat Jelena Ostapenko and Carla Suarez Navarro. Madison’s 3-6 6-3 7-6 win over the Spaniard was particularly impressive, Madison’s ability to hold her nerve and raise her level of play towards the end of the match against a very solid opponent was a very good sign.

 

Madison Keys holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Strycova. The pair have already played on 2 occasions in 2016 (both on clay), Madison won both of those matches. A 6-3 6-3 win on Madrid and a 6-4 4-6 6-3 win in Rome. Strycova's win over Keys was a three set win in Wuhan in 2014. 

This will be the first meeting between Strycova and Keys on a grass court. I suspect Madison will continue to have the edge over Strycova. Madison served very well in her semi-final win over Suarez Navarro and will be extremely difficult to beat in Sunday’s final if she can serve at a similar level. Madison’s ability to deal with Strycova’s unorthodox game has proven to be pretty good and her ability to deal with pressure has also generally been quite good in important matches whilst Strycova’s ability to deal with the occasion is questionable given her recent troubles in finals. Keys also seems to be in a better position physically heading into the final, Strycova has had some injury concerns over the past week and has played more tennis given she is also into the doubles final.

Prediction: Madison Keys to defeat Barbora Strycova in 3 sets