French Open third round preview: Petra Kvitova - Shelby Rogers

French Open third round preview: Petra Kvitova - Shelby Rogers

The two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is into the third round of the French Open for the sixth year in a row having won back-to-back matches. The Czech will look to equal last year’s result when she goes up against the American Shelby Rogers who thrives well on the dirt.

silas
Silas Low

Third round action at French Open will commence Friday and players will seek to secure their berths in the round of 16 and the second week in Paris. Petra Kvitova and Shelby Rogers will play second on Court 2. The winner could set a potential clash with 25th-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu or Annika Beck in the round of 16.

Lead-up

Kvitova plays a backhand in her match against Hsieh Wednesday. Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.
Kvitova plays a backhand in her match against Hsieh Wednesday. Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.

By virtue of her second round win over Hsieh Su-Wei Wednesday, Kvitova secured consecutive victories in the French capital for the sixth year running since the turn of the decade. Although she did bow out at the third round stage to Jamie Hampton (2013) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2014), she went on to reach the semifinals in 2012, falling to eventual champion Maria Sharapova. She lost in the round of 16 in 2011 to eventual champion, Li Na and last year to eventual semifinalist, Timea Bacsinszky.

The Czech, after surviving a first round scare, was routine and clinical in her second round win over her Taiwanese opponent. The victory was the 26-year-old’s 20th career win at the French Open and her overall milestone 300th main draw victory since turning professional in 2006.

Rogers returns a forehand to Vesnina in their second round clash. Photo credit: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images.
Rogers returns a forehand to Vesnina in their second round clash. Photo credit: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images.

There seems to be a love affair between 23-year-old American Rogers and clay. Her only two finals on the tour came on the dirt, Bad Gastein in 2014 and Rio de Janeiro February this year. She went winless in two of her last three outings here in Paris and is into the third round for the first time here.

Rogers, who resides in Charleston, South Carolina, most notably sent 17th seed Karolina Pliskova packing in three sets in the opening round. In round two, she dispatched Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-2 and it was a good win for the American given Vesnina is one of the current in-form players.

Head-to-head

The Kvitova-Rogers head-to-head as displayed on WTA's website.
The Kvitova-Rogers head-to-head as displayed on WTA's website.

Both players have never played each other before, this will be their first meeting.

Analysis

Rogers will be going up against a rather similar opponent like her opening match. Not only are both Kvitova and Pliskova Czech, both women possess a huge serve and powerful groundstrokes. Despite having seen Pliskova make 12 aces, Rogers was able to neutralise the Czech’s game and sail through. This could prove a vital role facing the Czech number one Kvitova. Moreover, the American who herself is also a big-hitter will be happy to be doing well at the Grand Slam played on her most successful surface and will want to make a good show of herself.

Kvitova will look to execute her experience in this upcoming match. Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.
Kvitova will look to execute her experience in this upcoming match. Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.

The odds, however, seem to be favoring the world number 12 Kvitova, who clearly has more experience and a tad more power and aggression than her American opponent. The Czech has to play spot-on first-strike tennis, avoiding unnecessary errors and prevent from allowing Rogers a chance to step in and cause trouble. The match will be all on the the racket of Kvitova and she should breeze past Rogers without many complications.

Prediction: Petra Kvitova in straight sets

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