Two years after her 2019 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix triumph, Petra Kvitova returns to indoor red clay with a draw unbefitting a defending champion. The seventh seed will nonetheless hope to extend her win streak to 3-0 against huge-hitting Jennifer Brady in Tuesday’s opening round.
The 2021 Australian Open finalist is likely eager to find her winning ways in general after losing opening matches in Dubai and Miami, but drawing the 28-time WTA title-winner in the first round is not ideal. Kvitova first beat Brady at the 2019 Dubai Championships, and again at the 2020 Brisbane International, though the American’s game has undoubtedly improved since then.
This encounter should be fascinating from a strategic perspective, as both Brady and Kvitova prefer to remain on offense throughout their matches. Though clay is not Kvitova’s favorite surface, she’s more than proficient on the dirt, having won five clay court titles in her career.
Look for Kvitova to open up the court with her unparalleled lefty slider. Here, Brady moves wide in the doubles alley to hit the return, but Kvitova’s well-hit sliding serve out wide proves impossible to defend.
Brady will need to serve extremely well, as Kvitova’s range on her return is one of her biggest strengths. Sometimes a perfect serve is still not good enough against the Czech.
Here, Brady does a great job of keeping Kvitova on the move. Against a ball-striker of Kvitova’s caliber, it’s one of the only effective plays.
According to the oddsmakers, Kvitova is listed as a -275 favorite, while Brady is a +210 underdog. 2 to 1 is a great price for Brady, but after her recent struggles—and on her least favorite surface—one can’t help but think Kvitova will cruise to another victory over the world No. 14.
The Pick: Petra Kvitova