Comprehensive article, detailing her background and early ITF career up to the day of the Wimby final, with some references to Lindsay Davenport and Petra's potential future thrown in.
Petra Kvitova: The ‘good girl next door’ aims for the stars
Saturday, 02 July 2011 00:00 By Ayo Ositelu Sport - Abroad
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But who is this “new kid on the block” from a country which has produced the likes of former world number one Ivan Lendl, another former world number one. Navratilova, and genuine champions Jana Novotna, Miroslav Mecir, Jan Kodes etc.? who is this girl whom neighbours back home in Gilovec, Czech Republic (where she was born twenty one years ago) still describe as “the good girl next door” because of her simplicity, humility and respectful disposition to everyone in spite of her career blossoming and dominating the headline?
Born in Golovec on March 8, 190, Kvitova, who had not shown signs of being very tall in the early years, but had surprised even her family by shooting towards six feet in her early years, was not exactly a [whiz kid” by today’s standards, as she started playing professionally only five years ago, in 2006 in her home nation tournament at Prostejov, where she won the qualifying tournament but lost in the first round. She then won two ITF tournaments in siege in Hungary, and Valasske Mezirici in the Czech Republic, defeating Dorottya Magas, and Radana Holusova in the finals.
Coached and managed by her father, Jiri from the beginning till now, it has been a gradual development for Kvitova, whose short career has been one of ups and downs, in equal measure. In 2007, she won four ITF (International Tennis Federation ) events in Stuttgart, Germany, and reached two other finals in Zlin, Czech Republic, losing to established pros, Klara Zakopalova 6-4, 6-1, and in Bratislava, in the Slovak Republic, lost to Tatjana Malek 6-2, 7-6 (7). It was in this same year, she played her first Grand Slam Qualifying draw at the 2007 ECM Prague Open, and her first Grand Slam Qualifying draw in the 2007 US Open, losing in the second round in both, but also earned her first win over a top 100 player, Pauline Parmentier.
In 2008, Kvitova qualified for her first WTA Tour main draw in the 2008 Gaz de France Open, where she upset the world number 30, Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-2, 6-3, thus earning her first win over a top 50 player, before losing to the now retired Elena Dementieva of Russia in the second round.
At the 2008 Cellular South Cup, as a qualifier, Kvitova earned one of the biggest wins of her career by upsetting former world number one Venus Williams 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, thus earning her first victory over a top 10 player, before losing in the following round. To underscore her inconsistency, she lost in the first rounds of the 2008 Sony Ericsson Open at Indian Wells, California, and the ECM Prague Open, and in the second round of the Internationaux de Strasbourg.
At the 2008 French Open, playing in her first-ever Grand Slam tournament, she defeated Akiko Morigami of Japan in the first round, Samantha Stosur of Australia in the second, and 12th seeded Agnes Szavay of Hungary in the third, before losing to Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the fourth round. She then lost in the first round of Wimbledon 2008 and the 2008 US Open. But in between those two Grand Slam events she was able to reach her first WTA Tour quarter-finals in the 2008 Buda pest Grand Prix, losing to Andreja Klepac 7-6 (2), 6-0.
When, still as a qualifier, she reached the quarter-finals of the 2008 Zurich Open, losing to then world number one Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, it was the first time she was ranked inside the top 50. She ended the year by winning in Monzon, Spain, defeating Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer in the final.
After beginning 2009 with a first round loss at the Brisbane International, she however won her first career title at the highest level, defeating Alona Bondarenko, Anastasia Pavlychenkova, Virginia Razzano and Iveta Benesova along the way. In a year in which she was dogged by injuries and had to withdraw from the French Open, and lost in the first round of Wimbledon, only to come back strong to defeat then world number one Dinara Safina of Russia in three sets 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the third round at the US Open. Then ranked world number 72, Kvitova was 71 places lower than Safina at the time. She then reached her second final in the year at the Generali ladies, in Linz where she defeated Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 6-4, 5th seeded Iveta Benesova 6-4, 7-5, 4th seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 7-5, 6-4 in the quarter-final, 2nd seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-2, before losing 6-3, 6-4 to Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer in the final.
It was the following year that she seemed to make it a habit to lose to the eventual champion in Tier-one WTA tournaments. At last year’s Australian Open, Kvitova lost to eventual champion Serena Williams. Also at the 2010 Cellular South Cup, she reached the semi-finals before losing to eventual champion Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3. At Wimbledon, she defeated Sorana Cirstea in the first round, and then upset China’s 23rd Zheng Jie 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, 14th seeded Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-0, before also upsetting 3rd seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Demark 6-2, 6-0 in the fourth round to advance to her first Grand Slam Quarter-final, where she beat Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 7-6, 8-6 after saving five match points to rally back from two breaks in the third set (trailing 0-4) to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final, where again, she lost to world number one defending champion and eventual champon, Serena Williams. After that run, she made it to the top 30 in world rankings for the first time.
Kvitova gaining in confidence, began this year by winning her second career WTA tour title at the 2011 Brisbane International Open, by defeating Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 6-3 in the final, after having earned impressive wins over 3rd seed Nadia Petrova of Russia, and 5th seed Anastasia Pavlychenkova also of Russia. With that second title, she achieved a career-high world number 28 ranking.
After reaching and losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open, her strong run earned her the number 8 in world ranking, to become only the fourth Czech female to be ranked among the top 10. She then celebrated her new status by defeating newly-crowned Australian Open champion and world number one, Kim Clijsters 6-4, 6-3 to win her second career title.
Earlier this year, she also led her country’s Fed Cup team to the final round, with semi-final wins over Wickmayer and Flipkens, winnng all of her matches in the earlier rounds.
At the pre-Wimbledon WTA warm-up tournament in Eastbourne, Kvitova, who was seeded eighth, lost in the final to Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli.
And so, it may not have surprised too many that Kvitova has gone all the way to tomorrow’s final, to face Russia’s former world number one and the 2004 Wimbledon champion, Maria Sharapova, who has literally been on fire throughout this tournament, having not conceded a single set.
Whatever happens in today’s final, it is sure that the tennis world will be seeing much more of this gifted clean-hitter of the ball. If even the Russian will go into the match as a heavy favourite to win, who says another upset cannot occur today?
Well, it´s an interesting article, but there are numerous errors there. Miloslav Mečír comes from Slovakia, not from Czech Republic. Petra was born in Bílovec, not "Gilovec".
Petra didn´t end up the year 2008 "by winning in Monzon, Spain, defeating Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer in the final"; she won in Monzon in
She didn´t defeat Dinara Safina 4:6, 6:4, 7:5, but 6:4, 2:6, 7:6(5). It was Yanina Wickmayer who defeated Petra 4:6, 6:4, 7:5.
She didn´t get in the top 10 after her run at AO, but after her victory in Madrid.