Second seed Petra Kvitova will face Kateryna Bondarenko in round two of the Bank of the West Classic on Thursday. Kvitova is seeded because of protected ranking, but still needed a wildcard into the tournament following a six-month medical absence from the tour. As she explained at the All Access Hour and was reported in the WTA Insider:
“The decision [to play Stanford] was easy. I missed six months of tennis. I wanted to play some more matches. I didn’t stay too long at Wimbledon so that’s why I asked for the wildcard so it’s very nice that I got it. I’m happy to be here for the first time.”
Kvitova only had the chance to play two matches at Wimbledon this year. She beat Swede Johanna Larsson 6-3, 6-4 before losing to American Madison Brengle 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Although Kvitova has not competed on the courts here yet because she received a bye in the first round, she is known to favour the fast court conditions described by other players this week.
Bondarenko made it into round two by edging out Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-4. The two clashed in an extremely physical Tuesday night match defined by long rallies that forced both players to scurry about the whole courts in a level of intensity that was lacking from many of the other early matches here.
Previewing today’s match, the H2H is of limited use. They are tied at two wins each, with Bondarenko having won both occasions on hardcourt with both those wins coming back in 2010. They last played at the London Olympics with Kvitova having the edge on her beloved grass and since then both players have significantly developed their shots and athleticism. While Kvitova has the upper hand going into this, the heat from the California early afternoon sun could be a significant concern for her if the match does go into a third set.
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