Barty’s bold plan to stop in-form Kvitova
Ash Barty is hoping to beat Petra Kvitova for the first time - a victory which would send her into her first Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open.
Ash Barty won’t die wondering when she continues her pursuit of Australian Open glory in a blockbuster quarterfinal against Petra Kvitova on Tuesday night.
Barty knows she can’t blink if she’s to turn the tables on the red-hot Czech, the only player to have conquered the Australian in a tour match this summer.
Kvitova, who is riding a nine-match winning streak, edged Barty in a thrilling third-set tiebreaker in the Sydney final 10 days ago to continue her domination of the Queenslander.
The eighth-seeded Czech has beaten Barty in all three of their career encounters and on all surfaces – clay, grass and hard court.
“I know that I have to go out there and try and be as brave as possible,” Barty said before finalising preparations on Monday for the biggest match of her life.
“If I get my opportunities, they’ll be few and far between so I know I have to take them with both hands and try and really get stuck into her service games.”
While Barty is bidding to become the first Australian woman to reach the Open semifinals in 35 years, Kvitova has her own motivation to crash the party.
The nightmare memory of the most despairing defeat of her glorious career is driving the dual Wimbledon champion.
The free-hitting left-hander has the chance to claim the world’s top ranking for the first time if she wins the Open.
Kvitova had the same opportunity seven years ago in Melbourne only to slump to a gut-wrenching three-set semifinal loss to Maria Sharapova.
“This loss was one of the most painful in my tennis career, which is not really something which I want to repeat for sure,” Kvitova said.
The 28-year-old admits her latest victory over Barty, after dropping the opening set 6-1, had given her a major shot of confidence.
“I really had to fight in the final, which obviously it’s great to have it before the Grand Slam,” Kvitova said.
“She’s is a different kind of player when she’s mixing it up a bit. She’s playing different serve, as well. She has the kick.
“It’s just different kind of player, but will be fun. Australians, of course, will be on her side but that was the same in Sydney, so I’m kind of used to it.”
The victor will earn a huge opportunity to make the Australian Open final.
Barty, who will also crack the world’s top 10 with victory, or Kvitova will next play unseeded American Danielle Collins, who beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a Tuesday afternoon quarterfinal.
The last local to reach the women’s Open semifinals was Wendy Turnbull in 1984, but Barty is embracing her time in the spotlight rather than feeling any pressure.
“It’s amazing,” the 22-year-old said.
“Yesterday playing in Rod Laver was pretty spine-tingling really.
“I’ve never played in anything quite so loud before. There’s nothing better than playing in Australia.”