Kvitova vs Riske (Approx 09:00pm AEST)
Based on the recent form of both players, and the situational match-up on offer today, I must say I am a little surprised to see Riske sitting at $3.40+ today.
I was a little surprised to see that Riske and Kvitova haven’t met on tour since 2013, when they played twice in 10 days. On those occasions, Kvitova won the first meeting in a tight 3-set match in New Haven, before Riske blew the Czech off the court at the US Open for the loss of 3 games. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then for both players.
I have written about matches involving Alison Riske many times this year, and it looks like this match-up today may be a nice mix of favourable surface and match-up for the American. The conditions in Wuhan appear to have favoured those players that have delivered their best performances on grass this year, and Riske falls right into that category. Her highlight of 2019 was the run to the quarter final at Wimbledon, where she wasn’t far off defeating Serena Williams, ending a very impressive grasscourt month. After marrying not long after Wimbledon, it took Riske a little while to get back into the swing of things on hardcourt. The North American hardcourt swing didn’t go to plan, and the Asian swing started with a couple of tricky opponents in Zheng and Gibbs that were not favourable to the style of Riske. Fast forward to Wuhan, and Riske has put together four consecutive victories over Kozlova, Puig, Wang and Svitolina. The Puig comeback impressed me, as Puig’s style and retrieval skills can make life difficult if you are not feeling confident in your own game. After taking care of Wang, Riske was dominant against another quality retriever in Svitolina – granted the Ukrainian didn’t look at 100% with her knee issue.
Petra Kvitova started the year incredibly well, however has spluttered a touch since her injury issues that caused her to miss the end of the claycourt swing, including Roland Garros. She was very rusty on her return at Wimbledon, and encountered a 1-2 record through the North American hardcourt swing. Much like Riske, Kvitova has also found some form this week, notching up victories over Hercog, Stephens and Yastremska on her way to the semi final. The form around those three wins isn’t overly solid, with all 3 opponents going through rough patches with their overall form, and given the lead-in form of the Czech I do think Petra is too short today.
While the conditions will have started to cool from their top of 32 degrees, it will still be hot on court. On past form, this would favour Riske, and can keep Kvitova moving and limit time between points will help with her fitness advantage. Another area of importance in this match up comes from the style of Riske and her ability to disguise the direction of her shot, especially on the forehand. Riske isn’t afraid to re-direct the ball at pace and hit down the line, which has the ability to really test Petra and her side to side court coverage. If Riske can take the game on and hit behind the movement patterns of Kvitova, I give her a fantastic chance of causing the upset.
If Petra can play lights-out tennis and dominate, then all power to her in this match-up. I don’t think I have seen enough from her in her comeback since the clay season to justify the price today, and as a result I am happy to make a 3 unit selection of Riske to progress to the final in Wuhan. There is up to $3.75 available, however the $3.40 range is far more accessible for recording purposes