MELBOURNE, Australia - Last year’s finalist Petra Kvitova picked up right where she left off at the Australian Open, putting on a dominant performance in her straight-sets, first-round against win against fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova.
With Melbourne finally getting some much-needed rain on Monday, the match was moved under the roof of Margaret Court Arena - which suited Kvitova’s big game just fine.
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Kvitova, the No.7 seed, dropped just one game in a commanding display of her trademark lefty power tennis, firing 16 winners and serving up six aces en route to a solid 6-1, 6-0 win.
“Definitely is one of the best [Grand Slam first rounds I’ve ever played],” Kvitova told press afterward.
She added, “Of course that I felt nervous before the match, in the start of the match. But in those three games I think I got a little bit more calmer, more free. Of course with the break it's a little bit better always.”
"The serve helped me a lot today. We are raising money for the aces, right? So I really tried."@Petra_Kvitova blasted eight for #Aces4BushfireRelief!— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2020
Make your pledge 👉 https://t.co/9RPgZ7cBoB#AO2020 | #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/XfBmt16KVp
Coming into Melbourne, Kvitova started the season with a semifinal run at the Brisbane International, taking down the likes of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Jennifer Brady before falling to an on-fire Madison Keys in the final four. The Czech had to forgo her Sydney title defense (now Adelaide International) due to fatigue, choosing to recover and rest for the Grand Slam.
It paid off for Kvitova from the start against Siniakova, allowing her opponent just one hold of serve in the first game of the match before taking command of the match. Kvitova was covering the court with ease - she won ten of 11 points at the net - and didn’t allow Siniakova to gain a foothold.
“I think, you know, the first game when I was serving helped me a lot,” Kvitova said. “So the serve was kind of key for sure. I felt more free on the returns and playing from the baseline.
“Yeah, definitely I played my game, which obviously worked.”
After powering through her opening service game, Kvitova broke early to take charge at 2-1. She fought off a break point a game later, consolidating to a 3-1 lead. It would be the only break point Kvitova would face for the rest of the match, however, and Kvitova reeled off the next three games to claim the opening set.
Kvitova’s serve kept her in control of the second set, where she dropped just one point from three service games. Overall, she struck 80% first serves and won 75% of those points across both sets, just too strong for an increasingly distressed Siniakova to find any inroads. Kvitova reeled off the next six games in a row to seal the victory after 51 minutes.
“Actually, I saw Katka was the last game of our match crying, so it wasn't really nice for me, of course,” Kvitova admitted. “We know each other very well. We are practicing the same club in Prague and it's nothing really easy to play who you well know.
“Yeah, it's been strange, for sure. I didn't feel very happy about her, for sure. But, yeah, it's a tennis match and just had to keep rolling.”
Comfortably into the second round, Kvitova will meet Spaniard Paula Badosa Gibert in her next match. Badosa Gibert advanced in similarly dominant fashion, serving up a 6-1, 6-0 win over qualifier Johanna Larsson earlier in the day.