WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham SF Preview
SF #1: (7/wc) 🇨🇿 Petra Kvitova vs 🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova
Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova will go head-to-head for the tenth time when they meet at the semi-final of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham on Saturday. Kvitova has dominated Safarova, winning all nine of their previous encounters, the majority of which have been in straight sets. Safarova will enter this match with nothing to lose having come through two matches this week where she was match points down, with a mindset of having nothing to lose, Safarova is a threat. Nevertheless, Kvitova will enter this match as a big favourite, Petra is full of confidence having not dropped a set this week and will be the fresher of the pair, having spent far less time on court than Safarova.
Petra Kvitova has made a great start to her grass court campaign, Petra has advanced to the semi-finals in Birmingham without dropping a set. The 7th seed started her Birmingham campaign with routine straight set wins over Tereza Smitkova and Naomi Broady before producing her most impressive performance since her comeback to defeat an in-form Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 7-5. Kvitova is now the clear favourite to win the title this week in what would be an outstanding achievement given where she was just 6 months ago.
Lucie Safarova’s route to the semi-finals in Birmingham has been far less straightforward than her compatriot’s. Safarova has had to save match points in two of her three matches this week, starting with a 5-7 7-6 7-5 win over Dominika Cibulkova before cruising past Naomi Osaka 6-2 6-4. Safarova’s most dramatic win came in the quarter-finals where she saved three match points on route to a 6-7 6-3 7-6 win over Daria Gavrilova. It will be interesting to see how much energy is left in the tank for Safarova as she will need to bring her a-game if she is to cause an upset over Petra Kvitova, an opponent she has never beaten in the past. Safarova did have her right thigh heavily taped in her match against Gavrilova.
Petra Kvitova has a perfect 9-0 head-to-head record over Lucie Safarova. The pair have previously contested some big matches on a grass court, including a semi-final match at Wimbledon in 2014 which Petra won 7-6 6-1. The most recent match between the pair took place on grass in Birmingham last year, Petra won that match 6-3 6-2.
Clearly, Kvitova has the edge heading into this semi-final. Kvitova has a big mental edge over Safarova given their head-to-head record, this has proven to be a good match-up for Kvitova as in some ways she is a better version of Safarova. Furthermore, Kvitova is the far fresher of the two heading into this match, Safarova will find it difficult to rebound after a gruelling quarter0final over Daria Gavrilova on Friday. Kvitova is looking sharp this week and should again sweep past her compatriot.
Prediction: Petra Kvitova to defeat Lucie Safarova in 2 sets