Britwatch Three-to-See – Our pick of the Aegon Classic Quarter-finals

 

By Ros Satar

  • Lucie Safarova v Daria Gavrilova [9]
  • Kristina Mladenovic v Petra Kvitova [WC/7]
  • Garbiñe Muguruza [6] v Coco Vandweghe
BIRMINGHAM, UK – The quarter-finals are set, and with no British interest left, can Petra Kvitova make her tour come-back a fairy-tale with a grass court title?

 

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Kristina Mladenovic v Petra Kvitova [WC/7] | H2H: Kvitova leads 3-1

For now the Petra Kvitova fairy-tale come-back seems back on. Whereas her return at Roland Garros was a frenzy of media attention on the big stage, it very much feels like business as usual this week. While Kvitova had more than enough game to get past compatriot Tereza Smitkova, she had all her scouting notes intact to deal rather efficiently with British No. 2 Naomi Broady.

On the flip side, Kristina Mladenovic’s progress has been largely under the radar, with two solid straight sets wins also, as she looks to consolidate a solid start to the year with the view to bettering her run to the semi-final in 2015. The Frenchwoman won her first tour title in St Petersburg earlier this year and has been in three others already this year, so there is no doubt she feels her star is on the rise.

There is a sense of confidence though for Kvitova now she is back on her beloved grass and her record over Mladenovic should make her feel confident of repeating the winning feat. Broady spoke of Kvitova’s knack of nailing any short balls that comes her way and finding the angles, and you feel she will test the agility of Mladenovic to the limit.

Prediction: Kvitova in straight sets.

 

Lucie Safarova v Daria Gavrilova [9] | H2H: Safarova leads 3-2

Lucie Safarova – 2017 WTA Aegon Classic © Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

It was quite the comeback for Kvitova’s compatriot Lucie Safarova in her opener against No, 3 seed Dominika Cibulkova – the Czech was up and squandered three set points before Cibulkova came back at her to take the first set. Safarova even saved two match points in the second set tie-break and came back from a break down against the No. 3 seed to keep her momentum from Nottingham (where she reached the semi-final) going to advance, enjoying a far more comfortable win in straight sets over Naomi Osaka.

She will face No. 9 seed Daria Gavrilova whose three setter with Katerina Siniakova had more pendulum shifts than a speeded-up grandfather clock. The first set was a veritable break-fest with Gavrilova just ending up being a little more measured when it counted. With Safarova just having the slight edge over the young Aussie, not to mention being a little more grass-hardened already, we give her the nod for a semi-final berth.

Prediction: Safarova in three sets

 

Garbiñe Muguruza [6] v Coco Vandeweghe

Coco Vandeweghe – 2017 WTA Aegon Classic © Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

The transition from clay to grass may have already taken a bit of a toll on former Wimbledon finalist Garbiñe Muguruza if the taping on her leg and grimaces in her later doubles match with Cibulkova were anything to go by. In a depleted field, the way os clear for someone to make their mark in these all important preparation weeks before Wimbledon, and it is beginning to look like it might be Coco Vandeweghe who will emerge triumphant if her battering of Johanna Konta was anything to go by.

The American already has form here, having reached the semi-finals here last year, and certainly has a new found confidence since teaming up with Pat Cash. Furthermore, Muguruza trails the American in their head to head, struggling to get on terms with the attacking play, and create chances against a relentless barrage of serving and forehands.

Prediction: Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets

The quarter-finals start at the Aegon Classic on Centre Court at 11:30am BST

 

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Featured Image Credit: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

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