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PREVIEW: WTA Ostrava Open – Selected Round of 16 Matches and Quarterfinals

Last Tuesday in Ostrava, Daria Kasatkina was a winner for the first time in more than a month. Kasatkina needed 1 hour and 31 minutes to oust Raducanu in the pair’s first meeting. The Russian will now face off with Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Last Tuesday in Ostrava, Daria Kasatkina was a winner for the first time in more than a month. Kasatkina needed 1 hour and 31 minutes to oust Raducanu in the pair’s first meeting. The Russian will now face off with Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2022 WTA Tour
WTA 500
Agel Open
CEZ Arena, Ostrava, Czech Republic (Indoor Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 16 Matches and Quarterfinals- 6th-7th October

Daria Kasatkina (5) (96/100) vs Ekaterina Alexandrova (82/100)

This has been a fantastic season for the hard-working Daria Kasatkina. She reached a career-high ranking of 9th in August and will be looking to creep back into the top ten before the year is out. She has reached the semi-final stage or better at six different events this year.

Her rankings surge really began with her fabulous clay-court results. She reached the semi-finals of the Italian Open prior to a maiden Grand Slam semi-final appearance at Roland Garros.

This wasn’t overly surprising for a player renowned for her clay-court prowess. But she backed that up with some striking performances during the North American hardcourt swing. She reached the final in San Jose before winning a fairly low-key event in Granby. Having said that, Kasatkina actually struggled during some of the more high-profile North American events.

She fell in the first rounds of the US Open, Rogers Cup and Cincinnati Open. But she will feel buoyed by a brilliant opening victory this week against the resurgent Emma Radacanu. This helped improve her win-loss record for the year to 38-17.

It’s been a wild rollercoaster of a year for 27-year-old Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova. She had a disastrous start to the season, losing in the opening round of the Aussie Open before suffering early exits at Indian Wells and Miami.

But her season erupted into life during the clay-court swing. She reached the semi-finals in Charleston before reaching her maiden WTA 1000 semi-final in Madrid. She then transferred that form to grass, winning her 2nd WTA event at the Rosmalen Open.

She then went into statis, unable to win more than one match in her next four events. But she absolutely dominated in last week’s Korea Open, dropping just one set en route to the title. And she has now improved to 33-16 for the year courtesy of an impressive three-set win against former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka.

She is at a career-high ranking of 21 and will be looking to go deep once again this week.

 Verdict: Kasatkina to win in three at 38/10- Kasatkina leads the head-to-head 2-1. This includes a tight three-set victory earlier this year at the Bett1 Open.

That was their 2nd consecutive three-set thriller. These two are obviously evenly matched and they both come into this match with some reasonable form under their belts. I back Kasatkina to break Alexandrova’s six-match winning streak.

Kasatkina was dominant against Radacanu while Alexandrova struggled against a returning Azarenka. I suspect Kasatkina’s consistent groundstrokes and superior movement will wear down the battle-weary Alexandrova.

Elena Rybakina (5/6) vs Petra Kvitova (5/6)

This should be a fascinating clash between current Wimbledon champ Rybakina and two-time Wimbledon champ Kvitova. It will be interesting to see who will prevail in a clash of mirroring styles. Rybakina’s victory over Sasnovich took her impressive win-loss record for the year to 37-17.

It has been a season marked by amazing highs and significant lows. She started the season with a runner-up finish in Adelaide before a dramatic dip in form (and rankings). Outside of reaching the quarterfinals at Indian Wells, Rybakina failed to reach the quarters at another event leading into Wimbledon. But boy did she make up for it at SW19, storming towards a maiden Grand Slam title.

She struggled in the immediate aftermath of that enormous success. But she eventually found her feet, reaching the quarterfinals in Cincinnati. She then reached her 3rd final of the year at the recent Slovenian Open, losing to Katerina Siniakova in the final.

Home favourite Petra Kvitova just came through an absolutely brilliant round of 16 clash with World No.4 Paula Badosa. The record books will say she won in straight-sets.

But the Czech needed over two hours and eight match points to finally get the job done. Badosa hit 19 winners and just seven unforced errors. Those are not the stats of a loser.

Kvitova was magnificent, hitting 42 winners in comparison to 26 unforced errors. It showed just how aggressive her approach was throughout. She served astutely and never allowed Badosa to settle into rallies. Kvitova is in the middle of an exceptional late-season surge.

She has now won 17 of her last 21 matches, winning the title in Eastbourne and reaching the final in Cincinnati. She is a perennial winner who looks supremely motivated to impress her adoring fans.

Verdict: Kvitova to win in straight-sets at 2/1- Kvitova leads the head-to-head with Rybakina 2-0.

She has utterly dominated the Kazakh, not dropping a set in those two matches. Having said that, they last met at the 2018 St Petersburg Open. It’s hard to really take rivalry into account after five years. Both of these players are front-foot operators who look to impose themselves with their serve.

I just think that Kvitova is playing the stronger all-round tennis at present. Her serve is ticking over beautifully and she is just suffocating players from the back of the court.

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