Doha R2: (6) Petra Kvitova vs Barbora Strycova
Petra Kvitova will begin her Doha campaign on Tuesday with a second round clash against an in form Barbora Strycova. Kvitova has made a terrible start to the season and will be desperate to reassert her dominance when she comes up against Strycova in an important clash. Kvitova has traditionally played extremely well against fellow Czech’s and will see this as a good opportunity to start a form reversal.
Petra Kvitova arrives on Doha on a four matching losing streak and has only one victory to her name in 2016 (a first round victory against Lesia Kumkhum at the Australian Open). Kvitova suffered a disappointing first round exit to Madison Brengle in Dubai last week, succumbing to the American 6-0 6-7 3-6. Kvitova started the match very well but she really seemed to run out of energy and power as the match wore on, a worrying theme in the game of the Czech in recent months. Petra’s early round exit in Dubai means that she arrived in Doha quite early and has been training at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex for a good amount of time before the commencement of the event.
Barbora Strycova’s recent form is in complete contrast to Kvitova’s. Strycova arrived in Doha just days after reaching her first premier level final in years at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Strycova was ultimately produced a poor display in the final against Sara Errani but it was still a good week for the Czech who recorded victories over Tsvetana Pironkova, Julia Goerges, Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Garcia on route to the final. Barbora made a surprisingly clean start to her Doha campaign on Monday despite the short time between events, recording a comfortable 6-3 6-4 victory over Kristina Mladenovic to set up a second round clash with Petra Kvitova.
Petra Kvitova holds a dominant 5-1 head-to-head record over Strycova. However, Strycova clearly enters this clash with the superior form and with momentum on her side. In a match-up like this, the form of the two players isn’t always such a great factor. Kvitova usually brings her best tennis to the court when she plays a fellow Czech and will undoubtedly be fired up for this clash. Conversely, Strycova has played a lot of tennis in the last week and I suspect she may struggle in this match.