The French Open this year saw Petra Kvitova and Hsieh Su-wei among the winners on a rain-hit opening day Sunday. Both players will clash for the first time in their careers as they eye for a spot in the third round in Paris. The match is the first scheduled on Court Suzanne Lenglen Wednesday.
Kvitova is off to winning start this year after beating Montenegrin Danka Kovinic although she was made to work hard. The start of the match featured wet and slow conditions which were not in favour of the Czech but she was not troubled by them as she claimed the first set easily.
Kvitova looked on course for a routine straight-set win over on Court Philippe Chatrier but a mid-match glitch coupled with an improved performance from her opponent saw her taken to a decider. Like their previous match in Indian Wells two months ago, the 26-year-old Czech once again came two points away from crashing out but summoned up her feisty and determined spirit which eventually helped her through 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
Going up against Spaniard and claycourt lover Lara Arruabarrena in the first round, Hsieh had the odds against her. Moreover, the Taiwanese player had never won a main draw match in Paris but this time, she finally proved that feat wrong by prevailing over her Spanish opponent in straight sets in what looked like a surprising result. The 30-year-old is now into her first ever second round at the French Open.
Both players have never played each other before, this will be their first encounter.
With more than 60 ranking spots separating the pair, Kvitova is on paper the favourite to advance into round three. Although Hsieh may not pose that much of a threat compared to Kovinic especially on this surface, the Czech should be wary of the two-handed forehand that is unique to the Taiwanese’s game.
Hsieh who is in unfamiliar territory on the dirt of Paris will need to bring up something special in order to challenge the heavy-hitting of Kvitova. Being a doubles specialist herself, she could employ her versatile net skills to catch the Czech off guard. Kvitova could get off to a slow start but in the end, her fiery power should see her record her 20th career victory at the French Open.
Prediction: Petra Kvitova in straight sets