It was destined to be the match of the day, under the New York City lights of the Arthur Ashe Stadium, and it didn’t disappoint.
It was a battle of two Grand Slam champions and two of the most likeable players on the tour.
In the one corner (and I’m not trying to sound like a boxing announcer), was the 23 year old and 3rd seed, Garbine Muguruza of Spain. She is the current Wimbledon champion and more importantly, the in form player this year. From her powerhouse serves to her blistering groundstrokes, she is not to be taken lightly.
Unfortunately, the US Open has not been kind to her. She has taken part in this tournament since 2012, with her best performance before 2017, being two second round appearances.
The pressure was certainly on her as not only was she wanting to win the tournament, she is also in a three-way battle for the No. 1 ranking.
Her opponent, the 27 year old and 13th seed, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. Definately this year’s “comeback kid”. Having been stabbed in her playing hand in December, which cast a shadow of doubt on her tennis career, she only returned to the tour for the French Open in May. Since then, she won the Birmingham Classic in June, defeating Ashleigh Barty of Australia in the final.
Kvitova, a left-hander, has an all-round strong game, but in particular loves to power serve wide and blast forehand winners past her opponents. She has been known to battle with her movement around the court and impatience, especially when certain players prolong a point.
She has enjoyed more success at the US Open than Muguruza, with her best performance being a quarter-final appearance in 2015.
The 7-6(3) 6-3 scintillating tennis match, which lasted 1 hour and 46 minutes, saw Muguruza take the lead in the first set. Kvitova was all over the place, but once she found her rhythm, played some unbelievable shots to match those of her opponent. Kvitova soon levelled and had a chance to serve for the set, but fumbled it with a double fault to afford Muguruza a tie-break opportunity. It was not enough to help the Spanish player as she committed a string of errors to give Kvitova the first set.
Kvitova lost her first service game in the second set, but soon found herself 4-1 up as she stopped Muguruza in her tracks. Muguruza managed to win two games after that, but Kvitova was then unstoppable, winning the match courtesy of a Muguruza forehand error.
The win means that Kvitova will play Venus Williams in the quarter-finals.
Both Kvitova and Williams have showed weakness in their usually strong service games during the US Open, so hopefully they will have sorted them out before tomorrow’s match.