Barbora Krejcikova won her first title of an injury-hit season on Sunday at the inaugural Tallinn Open. She kicks off her Ostrava Open campaign with a clash against Shelby Rogers.
2022 WTA Tour
CEZ Arena, Ostrava, Czech Republic (Indoor Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 32 and Round of 16 Matches- 5th October
Round of 32
Barbora Krejcikova (8/15) vs Shelby Rogers (11/8)
Despite being unseeded this week, hometown heroine Barbora Krejcikova is sure to be one of the favourites to win this title. The 2021 French Open champion had been a non-entity on the singles circuit since reaching the quarterfinals at this year’s Aussie Open.
That was until her dominant performance in last week’s inaugural Tallinn Open. She won her first title in over a year and 4th title overall, beating the top three seeds in the process. She demolished top seed Anett Kontaveit in the final, snapping the Estonian’s 24-match indoor-hardcourt winning streak. And how desperately she needed that.
The Czech has evolved into one of the most accomplished doubles players in the modern era. But she certainly lost some ground in her singles play this year. Prior to last week, the Czech star hadn’t won more than two consecutive matches since the Aussie Open.
She looked in real threat of plummeting outside the top 50 in the world. But she has now risen to number 23 in the world and has a far more respectable 21-14 win-loss record for the year.
29-year-old American Shelby Rogers has developed a reputation for being a giant killer over the years. But she hasn’t really been able to establish herself as a consistent contender on tour. This year’s results are a perfect distillation of her erratic form. She is 19-19 for the season.
This included a run to her first WTA final in six years in San Diego. But much of her success has been limited to the North American hardcourts (outside of a Libema Open semi-final).
The hard-hitting American had a poor outing in last week’s Tallinn Open, losing to then world no.138 Ysaline Bonaventure in straight sets. She will look to be aggressive as possible against Krejcikova. But you have to think she may struggle against a player with the Czech’s undoubted variety.
Verdict: Krejcikova to win in straight sets at 5/4- This will be their first meeting on the WTA Tour.
As I alluded to earlier, Krejcikova could be a nightmare opponent for the American. Her crafty use of drop shots and ability to mix attack and defence will disrupt the more one-dimensional American.
Round of 16
Paula Badosa (2) (4/7) vs Petra Kvitova (5/4)
One would have thought that current World No.2 Paula Badosa would have coasted into the WTA Finals for her 2nd successive season. But the Spainard’s season has completely capitulated and she now has serious work to do to reach the finals held in Fort Worth later this year. It stared so well for the aggressive, big-serving Badosa.
She won her 3rd career title in Sydney before semi-final appearances at Indian Wells and Stuttgart. But she has only won three successive matches once since Miami.
She has had some physical issues this season, withdrawing from Roland Garros and Toronto with a calf strain and cramps respectively. She is struggling to replicate the consistency that saw her claim last year’s Indian Wells title.
She was humiliated last week, dunked out of the Japan Open in her opening match against Qinwen Zheng. She is in a state of freefall and desperately needs a result this week.
32-year-old Petra Kvitova has been a stalwart of the women’s game and still has the capacity to mix it with the best in the world. The Czech will be motivated to impress her fanatical home support and continue her strong late-season form.
She was underwhelming in the first half of the season, compiling a measly 10-13 win-loss record. But she burst into life- unsurprisingly- during the grass-court campaign. The two-time Wimbledon champ triumphed at Eastbourne.
She would then go on to reach the final in Cincinnati prior to a 4th round excursion at the US Open. This will be her first appearance since New York and she arrives in much better form than the World No.4.
Verdict: Kvitova to win in straight sets at 11/4- This will be their 3rd career meeting. Kvitova won their maiden encounter at the 2020 Aussie Open.
Badosa returned the favour by beating Kvitova at her beloved Wimbledon earlier this year. But these two are in completely different places now. Badosa seems to be struggling with the sheer amount of tennis she has played over the last 18 months.
I think Kvitova will feel rejuvenated and will look to make a statement in front of her home crowd.