Tuesday 1 July 2014

Petra Kvitova vs Barbora Zahlavova Strycova

Wimbledon brings the best out of some players and it is safe to say that Petra Kvitova is one of those players. She has been to the quarter-finals or better in each of her last 4 outings and she played one of the best matches of the tournament in sending the 5 time Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams home in the third round.

Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova are the only former Wimbledon champions left in the draw and both are in opposite halves of the draw.

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova is having the tournament of her life. She sent Australian Open champion and world no.2 Li Na home in the third round, then saw off former world no.1 Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round to make it to her first grand slam quarter-final. Grass is a surface that rewards Strycovas game and she should be confident and up for the challenge that Kvitova will be presenting.

The pair have played four times, with Kvitova winning thrice and Strycova getting the better of Kvitova once. All their prior matches have been on hard courts. Their last encounter was in Indian Wells in 2012 won by Kvitova in straight sets.

With Serena Williams and Li Na already home, this might be Kvitova's best chance to win another slam, however we have seen this before and we have seen Kvitova falter before just like Radwanska. Kvitova talked about her loss at the hands of Flipkens in last year's quarter-finals and how it hurt her, so expect her to be pumped to make it to the end of the tournament.

Strycova is into her first grand slam quarter-final and nerves are sure to play their part on the big stage. The pair play their match on Centre Court. Kvitova should be able to handle the match and walk off Centre Court smiling with a win unless she is having a terribly off day.

Winner : Petra Kvitova

Lucie Safarova vs Ekaterina Makarova (Wimbledon QF Preview)

Lucie Safarova and Ekaterina Makarova both are having their best Wimbledon results and have equalled their best Grand Slam outings. There will be a lot on the line for both players, a career first Slam semi-final and a chance to surpass their career best singles rankings. Currently they are separated by just one spot in the rankings with Safarova sitting at no.23 and Makarova at 22. Their career best singles rankings have been near each other as well, with Safarova peaking at no.17 and Makraova going up-to no.19.

Makarova's best Wimbledon result had been a 3rd round showing last year, while Safarova progressed to the same stage in 2007.

The pair has played twice before and have split their meetings with Sfarova coming out on top in straight sets in Moscow in 2009 on hard courts while Makarova avenged that defeat in Madrid last year in straight sets.

Grass suits the game of both players and both were ruthless in their fourth round matches. Safarova was the first to advance as she put a master-class performance to end the Wimbledon dreams of Tereza Smitkova. Sfarova won 91% points behind her first serve and 62% behind her second serve to win 6-2 6-0. Safarova went 19-4 for winners - unforced errors.

Makarova had a greater task on hand in former WImbledon finalist Radwanska but she was up for it as she put in 78% of her first serves and won 87% of those points. Makarova hit 24 winners to just 6 unforced errors in her 6-3 6-0 win over Radwanska.

Nerves will be a factor in this match. Makarova is a more experienced player at this stage, she has been to the quarter-finals of grand slams thrice and has also been a winner and a runners up in doubles at Grand Slams (Roland Garros and Australian Open respectively). Safarova on the other hand has never been beyond the quarter-finals either in singles or doubles. This is just her second grand slam quarter-final.

It should be a good match with both players games well suited for grass. The serve and the nerve will be the deciding factor, the player who better manages both will come out on top. Makarova might have an emotional let down after her win over Radwanska, but given her performance (excluding the first round) she should be favoured to make it to her first grand slam semi-final. My gut feeling is Safarova will tough it out but my head says Makarova will handle the Czech and march to her first grand slam semi-final.

Winner : Makarova