Friday, 27 September 2013

WTA Tokyo Final Preview: Petra Kvitova v Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber
Is it just me or has Tokyo been pretty great this week? I felt a bit disinterested during and after the US Open and I don't know if it is because I had a break away from following tennis and it has rejuvenated my interest.  This tournament has been missing the big three, but that hasn't been bothered me because we have had some great match-ups and the last 4 are all quality players.  Both semi-finals were complete contrasts but equally absorbing.  Petra Kvitova delivered her best performance in quite sometime, showing superb mental toughness when facing scoreboard pressure in the 3rd set to edge past Venus Williams, 3-6 6-3 7-6(2).  She was broken just twice during the whole match (as was Venus) and like her performance against Kuznetsova, was controlled and able to maintain a consistent rally ball without smashing the ball out every few shots.  A word for Venus, who has been tremendous all week.  I really hope she can stay healthy because she has proven she definitely has life left in her legs.

I never watched the Indian Wells epic moonball between Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber, but I didn't have high expectations for this one.  I was of course, like my prediction, entirely wrong as both came out playing very aggressively, particularly Wozniacki.  Her backhand was exquisite at times, but the forehand was supremely exploited by Kerber.  Kerber has silently floated through the year, playing far too defensively in a huge chunk of her matches and missing out in the close ones, which she was winning last year by virtue of her intent to go for her shots.  I noticed there was a new face in her camp watching the match and wondered if there has been a coaching change? I know Torben Beltz had been with her for a while, but I didn't see him throughout this match.  Kerber came through in the end holding off an admirable charge to post a 6-4 7-6(5) victory.  Kerber hit 37 winners to just 18 unforced errors and still Wozniacki had a +10 winner / unforced error differential highlighting the quality of this match.

A Kerber-Kvitova final is exciting proposition to me.  Kerber leads the head-to-head by 2 wins to 1; all those matches came last year with Kvitova prevailing in Stuttgart and then Kerber coming through 3 setters in Rome and Cincy.  I thought the first set of their Rome match was stunning and their games match up nicely on the court.  So who is going to win? Well Kerber certainly had the edge in their recent matches, but Kvitova has the firepower to turn things around.  I particularly like the way that Kvitova has been playing this week and although Kerber has looked back to her 2012 form this week, I think Petra's going to prevail in a closely fought final.

Prediction - Kvitova to beat Kerber in 3 sets


  1. Yeah was a very nice tounament. Everybody delivered it seems-even Ivanovic by exiting early-lol although she seems to be mentally healthier. Finals with Kerber and Kvitova playing well and 2 of the most exciting players to watch. Also nice somehow that the top 3 weren't hovering ominously over their half of the draw. With Azarenka out early and well Radwanska can't really scare you like the others. Venus put on a great show. Yeah was great.

  2. The local cuisine might also have a positive effect on certain players? Kvitova likes sushi? Kerber likes wasabi? Azarenka might prefer Chinese food...we'll see.