WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up French Open tips for a second-round clash between Aussie Daria Gavrilova and modern great Petra Kvitova.
00:30 (AEST), Thu 26th May @ Stade de Roland Garros, Paris
History: Played 5: Gavrilova 3 V Kvitova 2
Last meeting: Beijing Open, 2018 (R64): Gavrilova d Kvitova 6-2 6-1
Final Thoughts: Australian Daria Gavrilova rocketed into the second round with a 6-1 6-2 thrashing of qualifier Valentini Grammatikopoulou.
Granted a wildcard for the French Open, world No.127 Gavrilova made the fourth round at Indian Wells and reached the Miami Open quarters but was winless on clay this spring prior to her impressive first-up display in Paris.
Former world No.2 Kvitova’s build-up to the French Open was remarkably similar. The 32-year-old made the Miami Open quarters but arrived in Paris on a three-match clay-court losing streak.
Kvitova withstood an early barrage for Hungary’s Anna Bondar in the first round to win 7-6 6-1.
Though the pair have not met since 2018, Gavrilova can take confidence from a 3-2 head-to-head record against the better-credentialled Kvitova. Gavrilova won the most recent clash – at the 2018 Beijing Open – in emphatic fashion and also took out their only encounter on clay in straight sets, at the 2016 Madrid Masters.
Kvitova is a two-time French Open semi-finalist (2012 and 2020) and has two Wimbledon titles to her name. An enigmatic performer, the Czech superstar has only made it to the third round in one of the past five grand slams. But Gavrilova has only got past the second round four times in 24 career major appearances – the last being the 2018 French Open – and it would be a serious shock to see her progress here.