Widely regarded as the tournament favourite, Petra Kvitova was expected to claim a third title here at Wimbledon. However, the #8 seed suffered a shock first round exit to an inspired Aliaksandra Sasnovich–perhaps the biggest upset of the tournament.
After her defeat to the World #50, the Czech star joins five other top 10 seeds who have fallen in the opening round in both draws: Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina, Grigor Dimitrov, Dominic Thiem, and David Goffin. It is only Day 2 of Wimbledon and we have witnessed so many upsets… there could be many more around the corner.
The loss is even more shocking when you weigh up the pair’s pedigrees on grass. Petra Kvitova is a two-time Wimbledon champion and one of the best grass court players of this era, maybe of all time. Prior to her amazing victory today, Sasnovich had lost five straight matches on this surface and had only one previous top 100 victory on grass (over Kristina Mladenovic in 2016).
Kvitova’s results in Grand Slam events this year has been relatively poor in comparison to her tour level results. At the Australian Open, she fell at the first hurdle to Andrea Petkovic despite serving for the match twice. At Roland Garros, the big hitting Czech was dispatched in straight sets by Anett Kontaveit in the third round. Here at Wimbledon, Kvitova suffered a third set bagel and her fans must be hoping that her luck changes in New York.
Petra Kvitova has not always been the most consistent in Grand Slam events but the stars seemed to be aligning for her here in Wimbledon after the season she has been enjoying so far. She has won a tour-leading five titles in 2018, including at least one on every surface. The world #7 has struggled to replicate her stunning tour form into the Slams this year and she was able to see the funny side of the situation.
“I just made a joke that probably I [am] going to skip the Grand Slams for the next years.”
It is no secret that Petra Kvitova is most vulnerable in the early rounds of a tournament. As the pressure builds throughout the rounds, the Czech star grows in confidence and when she is on she can be unstoppable. This is supported by her unbelievable record in finals: Kvitova has won twenty-five of her thirty-two finals.
The 28-year-old has enjoyed most of her success at Wimbledon as the court suits her game style so well. Between 2010 and 2014, Kvitova made five consecutive quarterfinals at the All England Club – winning the title twice. Since her last title here, she has only won four of her next eight matches. Maybe Kvitova wants to peak at this tournament too much?
“I wanted to win badly, maybe too much.”
We are all aware of Petra Kvitova’s desire and hunger for victory and maybe she did want to win too much, however, her desperation to finish on top is what has got her to where she is and maybe she would not be a Grand Slam champion without it. Kvitova is still only 28-years-old and will have at least a few more cracks at winning title number three at SW19.
What’s Next For Kvitova?
Although this loss will surely sting for a while, there is plenty for Petra Kvitova to look forward to. The US Open is not too far away and it is her weakest Slam statistically speaking as she is yet to reach a semifinal there. However, you can not read too much into the numbers because Kvitova has made just two Grand Slam quarterfinals in the last four seasons and they both came at the US Open. Despite her alarming form in the biggest events this year, Kvitova is still a title threat in Flushing Meadows.
Another goal that the big hitting Czech must have in her mind is climbing the top of the world rankings. As it stands, Kvitova is #3 in the WTA Race and 1,788 points behind the #1 Simona Halep. The 28-year-old has never achieved the #1 ranking and it would be incredible if she does given all she has been through on and off the court.
Wimbledon has only just finished its second day and so much has happened already. The tennis world will stay fixated on what occurs during the All England Club for the next two weeks. Petra Kvitova will be looking ahead for the rest of the season, and she is still a major threat despite today’s shock result.