Friday 4 January 2013

Petra Kvitova and Australian Open 2013

Not long ago, Petra Kvitova was dubbed as the next big thing of tennis in WTA, the new WTA leader, but Kvitova has not lived up to those expectations put forth on her by the tennis experts and fans. After finishing 2011 strongly, she faded as 2012 went on. It is not that Kvitova had a bad year, she had a great year, a year for which many players will give everything, but compared with Kvitova's potential, the year was a disappointment. Kvitova also had a lot of health issues during last year.

Now with the new  year running on, and the first events of 2013 nearing their end, let us see where Kvitova stands, and what are the odds of Kvitova winning the Australian Open this year.
Kvitova started her year at Brisbane, which had a loaded field with 7 of the top 10 players playing there (Maria Sharapova withdrew from Brisbane due to right collarbone injury). Kvitova won her first match of the year but lost her second match in straight sets to Pavlyuchenkova.

Where does Petra Kvitova stand and what are Kvitova's chances at the upcoming Australian Open? Let us look at what do numbers tell us about her.

Petra Kvitova will most probably be seeded 8th for the Australian Open 2013.

Petra Kvitova and Australian Open 2013 - Based on the past results of 8th seeded players.
There are only two seeds amongst the top 8 seeds, who have never won the Australian Open trophy during the last 25 years. Guess what, 8th seed is one of them. Kvitova won't be happy to know this.

The best showing by a player seeded 8th has been a runner-up showing. Anke Huber was the first 8th seeded player to do so back in 1996. She ousted two seeded players on her way to the final, 2nd seeded Conchita Martinez in the quarter-finals and 16th seeded Amenda Coetzer in the semi-final. However, she ran out of gas in the final loosing in straight sets to Monica Seles, in what was Seles' last grand slam trophy.

 Conchita Martinez repeated the feat in 1998 when she was seeded 8th and made it all the way to the final, beating two top 10 players en-route, but lost in straight sets to Martina Hingis.

Justine Henin was the 3rd and last player seeded 8th to make it to the final of Australian Open. She did that in 2006 and en-route defeated top seed Lindsay Davenport in the quarter-finals and 4th seeded Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals, both matches going the distance. She retired in the final against Mauresmo while trailing by a set and a break in the second set, due to stomach cramps.

Kvitova has 12% chance of making it to the final, while 56% chance of making it to the QF or better of Australian Open based on the past results of players seeded 8th at Australian Open.

Interestingly an 8th seeded player has never lost in the opening round of Australian Open since 1988.

How will Petra Kvitova fare in the Australian Open 2013? Will she follow in the foot-steps of the past players or will she tread on her path?

Let us now have a look at how Petra Kvitova has done at Australian Open in the past?

Petra Kvitova and Australian Open 2013 - Based on Kvitova's past results at Australian Open.
Kvitova is 10-4 in the Australian Open so far. She first played tennis on the courts of Melbourne in 2009 (not including her loss in first round of Qualifiers in 2008). She lost in straight sets to future Australian Open champion and future world no.1 Victoria Azarenka (Azarenka was seeded 13th) in the first round.

Kvitova returned to the Melbourne courts in 2010 when she finally won her first match at the Australian Open, but fell in straight sets to then world no.1 and eventual champion Serena Williams in the second round.

It was 2011, that saw Kvitova breaking it throguh the draw and making it to the quarter-finals, en-route she defeated then world no. 6 Stosur in the 3rd round. She fell to world no.2 Vera Zvonareva in straight sets in the QF.

2012 Australian Open gave Kvitova a shot at the top spot but she fell short this time in the semi-finals. She lost a tight match at the hands of Maria Sharapova.

All 4 of Kvitova's looses at the Australian Open have come at the hands of quality opponents.
Victoria Azarenka - Current World no.1 and defending Australian Open champion.
Serena Williams - Current World no. 3 and 5 time Australian Open champion.
Vera Zvonareva - then world no. 2 (Zvonareva missed most of the last year due to injury and will be missing this year's Australian Open also due to injury).
Maria Sharapova - current world no. 2 and 2008 Australian Open champion. Sharapova was a runner-up last year.

The problem for Kvitova is that of the players who have beaten her at Australian Open, only Zvonareva will be missing the Australian Open, while the rest of the 3 are playing the Australian Open, and in order to get her hands at the trophy she will have to go through at least 2 of them, if seeds hold or all 3 of them depending on the draw. Kvitova has beaten Azarenka and Sharapova before, but that too came in 2011. She did not face Azarenka during 2012 and lost all 3 of her matches against Sharapova in 2012. As for Serena Williams, Kvitova has yet to score a win over Williams.

Kvitova made it to the QF of Australian Open in 2011, the semi-finals in 2012, will she make it to the finals this year to continue the trend of going one round better or will she go all the way?

What do you think and how far do you see Petra Kvitova going into the Australian Open 2013?

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