Petra Kvitova defies the odds to make Australian Open final

Petra Kvitova defies the odds to make Australian Open final
Petra Kvitova in the 2011 Wimbledon final. Photo: Pavel Lebeda, Wikimedia Commons

Two-time Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova, is through to her first final of a Grand Slam since her 2016 home invasion. It has been an emotional few years for the Czech tennis player, who was told that she may never play tennis again after being stabbed in 2016 during a home invasion. Her racquet-holding left hand was severely injured in the attack, leaving her with serious tendon and nerve damage.

Kvitova beat unseeded American Danielle Collins to reach the final and will play current US Open champion, Naomi Osaka, in the final on Saturday night. It is clear that the road back from her injuries has been tough, as she broke down in tears following her win over Australian, Ash Barty, in the quarter-finals. Barty was the last remaining Aussie, after Tomic and Kyrgios lost their first round encounters.

Organisers forced to close roof

During the Kvitova-Collins match, tournament organisers enforced the extreme heat policy. Both Collins and Kvitova took a rest as the roof of Rod Laver Arena was closed a temperatures neared the 40 degree mark.

At the time, the match had been tight at 4-4 in the first set. After play resumed, however, Collins’ momentum was seemingly affected. Kvitova won the first set in a tiebreaker (7-2), before punishing Collins in the second set 6-0. Collins was involved in a tense discussion with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, however, it did little to quell Kvitova’s momentum.

Osaka prevails in tight semi-final

Osaka in 2018
Osaka in 2018. Photo: Peter Menzel, Wikimedia Commons

Following the Kvitova-Collins semi-final, Osaka took on Karolina Pliskova to determine who Kvitova would meet in the final. Pliskova was struggling throughout the match, clearly still recovering from her epic comeback against Serena Williams, in which she saved four match points and won six straight games.

Pliskova rallied, however, forcing the match into a deciding third set. Nonetheless, Osaka held her nerve, securing a critical break of serve, before holding out for victory. It is now Osaka’s second consecutive finals appearance, following her maiden Grand Slam win at the US Open last year.

The Kvitova-Osaka final is shaping up to be a fantastic match, with both players in great form. While Kvitova will be looking to fulfill the fairy tale comeback story, Osaka will be looking to spoil the party. Australian fans will just be hoping for a great spectacle and distraction from recent off-court dramas involving Tomic and Kyrgios.