Kvitova Headline Act In Katowice
Published April 07, 2013 07:32
KATOWICE, Poland - Save for the occasional Fed Cup tie, Petra Kvitova has been shorn of the opportunity to appear on home soil since 2010. And while next week's inaugural BNP Paribas Katowice Open is not technically in her native Czech Republic, in the globetrotting world of a leading tennis player, it is as good as on her doorstep.
The tournament, hosted at the futuristic-looking Spodek arena, is just a two-hour drive from Kvitova's home across the Czech-Polish border in Fulnek, offering her the ideal launch pad for the 2013 clay court season. But, it is not just the location that is ideally suited to the Czech's needs.
Katowice is - alongside Stuttgart - one of just two indoor clay events on the calendar, a fact that is a boon to Kvitova, who in recent years has produced her best tennis when the elements have been removed from the equation.
Not that the top seed is likely to have it all her own way; she is joined in the draw by eight other former clay court title winners, including the high-flying Roberta Vinci.
On the back of a quarterfinal run in Miami, Vinci reached a career-high ranking on No.13 last Monday and, despite turning 30 in February, is currently playing some of the best tennis of her career.
However, the Italian has not been handed the easiest of draws in Poland. Should she see off the mercurial Andrea Hlavackova first up, she will play the winner of the first round encounter between two of the WTA's bright young things, Kiki Bertens and Lara Arruabarrena.
Also in Vinci's half of the draw are the hard-hitting trio of Klara Zakopalova, Kaia Kanepi and Laura Robson, who are seeded No.3, No.6 and No.8 respectively. Meanwhile, Julia Goerges, Alizé Cornet and Sabine Lisicki will be providing principal competition in Kvitova's half.