French Open: Why Petra Kvitova will finish strong this week

Petra Kvitova has not been seen at a Roland Garros quarter final since 2012. Her comeback to tennis is an inspiring story which is now unfolding remarkably.

Petra Kvitova is one of the top players on the WTA tour, and the only remaining woman at the French Open who has a Grand Slam title to her name. Kvitova’s comeback to the tennis scene since May of 2017 has not been easy, but against all odds she is firing back with her best tennis, and may even be the favourite for this year’s Roland Garros championship title.

Prior to the 2017 season, Kvitova had unforunately been attacked in her home by an armed robber wielding a knife, where she suffered some serious injury to her dominant left-arm. The physical and mental trauma experienced caused her season to be delayed by almost half a year, resulting in a drop in WTA ranks as well as missed opportunities for Grand Slam participation and possible championship titles.

Since then, Kvitova had been working tirelessly to overcome her personal challenges and to reach her optimal form she had displayed as a Wimbledon champion in 2014 and as a world number 2 in the WTA tour rankings. Needless to say, her results thus far have been extraordinary, winning 5 WTA titles in 2018 and reaching the Australian Open final in 2019, where she narrowly lost to Naomi Osaka after producing a tight-knit score of 7-6(7-2) 5-7 6-4.

In addition to her strong performance at various majors, Petra Kvitova also has one of the best head-to-head records against world number 1 Ashleigh Barty, leading the rivalry 5-4. With the likes of Barty and Osaka out for the Roland Garros 2020, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Kvitova is the new favourite to win, with no big names standing in her way.

Upon review of Kvitova’s French Open results thus far, her dominance is clear, as she has yet to drop a set, or even be pushed to a tie-break. The only other player remaining to have achieved this feat is the young Polish Iga Swiatek, who may be the greatest threat for Kvitova at this year’s Roland Garros, after stunning Simona Halep in straight sets.

Nevertheless, the sheer experience of Petra Kvitova as well as the obstacles she has been able to overcome may reveal a side to her mental game which may be too great even for the rising star Iga Swiatek. Regardless, both of these shining players will still need to prove themselves against their respective opponents in the quarter finals should they have a chance at meeting in the semis.

Kvitova’s ability to overcome her illness in 2015, her physical and mental damage of pre-2017 and finally a forearm injury sustained in 2019, to be competing at this level in the French Open without dropping a set is simply astonishing. Her mental fortitude during matches and her grace on and off the court is testament to her champion-like qualities, and after reaching the quarter finals of the Roland Garros once again after 8 long years, the stage is set for her to finish strong in 2020.