Petra Kvitova is mystified by her poor Australian Open results in recent years after the world No7 was sent packing by 21-year-old Daria Gavrilova in the second round on Wednesday.
The Czech two-time Wimbledon champion has now made a first-week exit on her last four trips to Melbourne – her 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Gavrilova the latest in a stream of tough losses for Kvitova Down Under.
The Russian-born Gavrilova, who officially became an Aussie a few weeks ago, had lost their only previous encounter in three tight sets in Wuhan last September. But the support of the home crowd helped keep her on point against the sixth-seeded Kvitova as she completed her 89-minute victory.
Kvitova had been ill this month which forced her to skip her title defence in Sydney. Her two matches in Melbourne were her first completed ones of the year.
Asked if her lack of match play affected her readiness for someone as tough as Gavrilova, Kvitova said: “I felt good in the first round but it wasn’t as physically tough as today. I really had to move well today, which I didn’t. And I think it wasn’t just about the matches; when I was ill I couldn’t really do what I wanted, physically and tennis as well, so that’s why I think I was a little bit struggling,” said Kvitova, who recently got engaged to hockey player Radek Meidl.
The match saw a combined eight service breaks and Kvitova hit a whopping 35 unforced errors to just 17 winners.
When questioned about why she hasn’t been doing well in Melbourne in recent years – she was a semi-finalist in 2012 but has done poorly since – Kvitova said: “If I know, I will tell you, but I don’t know. I’m not pretty sure why. I wish I could play well, but I think it’s still a lot of work ahead of me and if I’m not really ready for that, it’s really no chance to play well. So I have to be ready for these kind of battles.”
Meanwhile, reigning WTA Finals champion Agnieszka Radwanska produced a clinical display to come through a difficult second round against ex-world No5 Eugenie Bouchard.
The fourth-seeded Radwanska needed 83 minutes to complete a 6-4, 6-2 win over the Canadian on Rod Laver Arena in what was a high-quality affair throughout.