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Venus Williams vs Petra Kvitova US Open live stream: Can former US Open champion Williams end Kvitova’s hot streak?

Brendan O'Neill in Tennis 5 Sep 2017
Petra Kvitova (Photo by Christian Mesiano)

Petra Kvitova put in the performance of the tournament when she defeated Garbine Muguruza to make the US Open quarterfinals – but can she back it up against Venus Williams on Tuesday?

Kvitova vs Williams US Open tennis is live from New York on Tuesday at 7pm local/12am BST. Watch and bet on tennis live at bet365 > live streaming > tennis

Two-time US Open champion Venus Williams is out to make her first semifinal in New York for seven years – and get a rare win over Petra Kvitova – as she faces off with the resurgent Czech in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

Williams won back-to-back US Opens in 2000-1 and reached the final again in 2002, but in the past 14 editions of the US Open – of which she has played 12 – she has only made it back to the semifinals twice, in 2007 and 2010 (losing to Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters respectively). While Williams herself says not to call it a comeback, and certainly her story isn’t quite as recently dramatic as some of the other women in the draw – like Kvitova’s, for example – it has been a gradual and quite remarkable return to the top of the sport, crowned by the 2017 season during which she has been the only woman to make multiple Grand Slam finals.

Denied in the Australian Open final by sister Serena and in the Wimbledon final by Garbine Muguruza, Williams might have relished the thought of a rematch with Muguruza on the American’s home turf – but instead she faces Kvitova, who produced one of the finest performances of the tournament so far to dismiss Muguruza in straight sets.

Williams herself had played her finest match of the tournament so far on Sunday. After being caught slightly unawares by Viktoria Kuzmova in the first round, who took her to three sets, Williams was less than totally convincing in straight-sets victories over Oceane Dodin and Maria Sakkari. Against Carla Suarez Navarro, however, an opponent who has beaten her before, Williams knew she had to raise her level – and she did. Suarez Navarro did take the second set when she really stepped up the aggression, but it was a level of red-lining that the Spanish player could not sustain for long, while Williams, brilliant in places, was solid enough in others that she never really looked likely to lose the match on her way to a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory.

‘This was my best match, so I was happy to see my level rise as the tournament is continuing because I know my opponents are going to be better, I need to be better. To be able to be out there and execute things that I wanted, it was a good feeling,’ Williams said.

With her stellar results at Grand Slams so far in 2017 – even at the French Open, always her least successful major, Williams made the round of 16 – Williams has really perfected the art of peaking for the big ones, and she’s really in a great position in New York. If she can get past Kvitova, she will face either Sloane Stephens or Anastasija Sevastova for a place in the final – and no one she could play in the final has her experience of winning Grand Slam titles.

That’s if she can get past Petra Kvitova, though – and if she saw any of Kvitova’s demolition of Muguruza, who has been playing as well as anybody and didn’t play badly on Sunday night, she might not be feeling too confident about that. 

It’s remarkable to think that Kvitova still has no feeling in two fingers of her left, i.e. dominant, hand after suffering those terrible knife injuries at the hands of an intruder in her home last December – and here she is, having not just won a title in her second event back on tour in Birmingham, but having matched her best ever US Open result, a quarterfinal showing in 2016.

Kvitova blasted through former world no. 1 Jelena Jankovic, Alize Cornet and 18th seed Caroline Garcia at the US Open without having dropped a set, but I must admit I thought that Wimbledon champion Muguruza, on an eight-match winning streak after having won Cincinnati, would be too solid for her. I was wrong. Muguruza did go ahead 4-1, and even had break points for 5-1, but once Kvitova found her range and her footing on Arthur Ashe Stadium, she barreled ahead like a freight train in the best unstoppable Kvitova style, erasing Muguruza’s lead as if it had never been. The Spanish player hung on to take it to a tie break, but in a match with high numbers of unforced errors from both players, it was Kvitova who both came up with the bigger shots, and landed her shots when it really counted. A series of powerful forehands put Kvitova in position to take the first set, and she swiftly capitalized before coming back from a break down in the second set to wrap up an impressive 7-6(3), 6-3 victory.

It was by far the best tennis Kvitova had played since her injury – and it raises spectres of some of her dominant title runs in the past, like those to the Wimbledon titles in 2011 and 2014, but also the likes of Madrid in 2015, Wuhan in 2016, There are few spectacles in tennis more fearsome than that of Kvitova when the streaky Czech hits her stride – but with so few matches under her belt in 2017, especially when it comes to victories over high-level opposition, and so many physical and psychological questions, can Kvitova turn in that kind of performance two matches in a row?

‘I think that she's playing amazing on the majors this year,’ Kvitova said about Williams. ‘I mean, she is really playing very, very well on the big stages. She played the final of Wimbledon. She's a champion. It's what we all know.

 ‘We always had tough battles. But I will try my best. I mean, she has a big serve, big server of course. She has something special which the other players doesn't have. I will try to play again probably, similar game as today.’

Kvitova actually owns a fairly dominant head-to-head record against Williams, having won four out of five played against the American – but their most recent match was at Wimbledon in 2014, a really scintillating high-level contest of first-strike power tennis which Kvitova edged by the skin of her teeth (then caught fire and went on to win the tournament). Williams has worked so hard since then to get herself into a position to contend for major titles – Kvitova, meanwhile, has been on a rollercoaster, not just since last December, but before. It’s unbelievably hard to call – both women have huge serves, play wonderful first-strike tennis and are plenty error-prone. Kvitova has played the better tennis so far, but has she peaked too soon?  

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