Kvitova Welcomes Return To Paris
Published January 27, 2013 11:21
Two years ago, Kvitova earmarked herself out as a future major contender with a scintillating run to the title in the French capital, rounded off with victory over Kim Clijsters in the final.
Further tournament wins in Madrid, Istanbul and Wimbledon proved this was no flash in the pan as she rapidly ascended the WTA ranks. However, in 2012, the Czech encountered her first bump in the road to tennis superstardom, with inconsistency and illness temporarily stalling her progress.
Now back in Europe after a disappointing January in Australia - which culminated in a heartbreaking three set loss to Laura Robson in Melbourne - the big-hitting Czech is looking forward to getting back on track in the welcoming environs of the Stade Pierre de Coubertin's intimate Centre Court.
"Of course, I'm really looking forward to coming to Paris," Kvitova said. "I have always had a great time playing there, especially in 2011 when I won the title there and beat Kim. I feel comfortable there so hope I can get some good matches."
A strong line-up in Paris also includes World No.7 Sara Errani, last year's runner-up Marion Bartoli, Dominika Cibulkova and Roberta Vinci, and after her recent ordeals, Kvitova is not looking too far ahead.
"My goal is just to play matches," she added. "I want to be relaxed on the court and take a different approach after some tough results in Australia.
"I am coming with my best friend and my coach David is staying at home, so I hope it will be fun and I can play some good tennis again. I am also hoping to play doubles, which is something rare for me, so I hope that will be fun too!"
While Kvitova and company decided to make the 20-hour trip back to Europe for their first post-Melbourne outing, others have elected for a less arduous travel schedule.
Despite the presence of the aforementioned duo - both of whom posted encouraging fourth round showings at the Australian Open - the leading storyline is Daniela Hantuchova and her bid to complete a hat-trick of wins in Thailand.
Since her triumph 12 months ago, Hanuchova has struggled for form and only entered the tournament as an 11th hour wildcard. The draw has been relatively kind to the Slovakian, though; first up is Olga Puchkova, with the winner meeting either Shahar Peer or Nina Bratchikova.