Tennis fans tend to think of Petra Kvitova as a grass-court demon and a woman that prefers a faster-paced court to anything else. And both of those assumptions are true, but it does not mean that we should not give the Czech superstar her due when it comes to her performance on the clay.
Today Kvitova booked her spot in the quarterfinals at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she is the defending champion, by edging Maria Sakkari, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. It was further proof that Petra Kvitova is a formidable foe on the clay.
Kvitova has now won 95 matches on the surface against just 44 losses, and today’s win boosts her record on clay to 31-7 since the start of 2019. During that time Kvitova has titles in Prague, Madrid and Stuttgart, as well as a Roland-Garros semifinal. She’s also 10-3 vs. the Top 20 on clay in that span. The numbers add up. Kvitova is the real deal on clay.
“I’m not really thinking about it, so to know these numbers, it’s actually very good for me for my mental side and for knowing that I can play well on the clay,” Kvitova said on Wednesday after her victory. “Of course I remember my semifinal from last year in the French Open, but overall it’s a really great achievement.
The Czech, now 31 and ranked 10 in the world, likes to think of her clay prowess as a work in progress.
“I’m not really a player for clay, I would say, but yes, I think in the last couple of years I am really trying to find the rhythm and finding the moving and everything,” she said. “So I’m really glad that we are working on it with my team and my coach and so forth, so I’m really glad for that. I won three titles on it, I’ve been twice in semifinals on the French Open, so I definitely can play on it, but it’s just about the few things which sometimes are not clicking. So I really have to work on it, but so far it’s good.”
What a fantastic match between @Petra_Kvitova and Maria Sakkari. After 2h 28min, the defending champion Petra Kvitova takes the three-set win (6-3, 3-6, 6-3) to reach the quarter final. Impressive performance from both players – that‘s why we love tennis! #porschetennis pic.twitter.com/4CCXzLtd7c
— Porsche Tennis (@PorscheTennis) April 21, 2021
Asked if she had a shot that she most enjoys hitting on the clay, Kvitova said it was the forehand topspin, crosscourt.
“Wow, I would say it’s the forehand crosscourt, I think. I can really use it more with the topspin which I’m not really playing it normally, that’s what I like. Actually I was sliding a little bit as well today, so I enjoyed even the sliding.”
Adding to Kvitova’s mystique this week is the fact that at Stuttgart the surface is fast and there is a roof over head. The Czech has always been lethal—on any surface—with a roof over her head, and she says it gives her that extra bit of confidence.
“Definitely because it’s indoor, I love to play indoor for sure, and it’s a bit fast as well,” she said. “It just seems that if I’m playing aggressive it’s really paying off and that’s how I think it’s pretty fast, the surface as well.”
But don’t think it’s just the roof or the speed of the clay – as Kvitova has proven over the last four years, the surface works for her and she does good work on it.