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WTA Stuttgart 2013: Li Na vs. Petra Kvitova QF Preview

By Pawan Atri    + Follow

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Keywords: Porsche Tennis Grand Prix | Na-Li | Petra-Kvitova
WTA Stuttgart 2013: Li Na vs. Petra Kvitova QF Preview
In what can be called as the battle royale in the quarterfinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix two Grand Slam champions Na Li and Petra Kvitova collide into other on Friday. The pundits are viewing the match as a possible showdown between the frontrunner for the crown at Roland Garros Li and the dark horse for the same Kvitova. It would be intriguing to see that whether those positions swap if the Czech goes on to lift the trophy on Sunday.

Li opened her campaign in Stuttgart in ruthless fashion as she completely annihilated Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the last 8. The Asian was all over her adversary in that duel as she kept on returning the ball deep, disallowing Lucic-Baroni sufficient amount of time to get into a right position to put the ball back in play. With that type of show the 2013 Aussie Open runner-up gave away a warning to her rivals that beating her inside the Porsche Arena would be a mammoth task this week.

The world no.5 said later: "It's always tough when you change to a new surface so I'm excited to win my first match on clay for the season. Mirjana plays flat, so I had to be prepared for that. And I thought it would be a tough match because she has a lot of experience, too - she's over 30, like me! I was happy I could play more aggressively and had the right game plan to win."

Her challenger Kvitova's opener could not have been much different to what it turned out to be. The 2011 Wimbledon champ looked down and out in the encounter as she trailed former Stuttgart winner Julia Goerges by a set and a break of serve in the second set. The left-hander though had her way as somehow she hung on during the German’s onslaught and went on to seal a 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 triumph in nearly 2 and a half hours.

The head-to-head between the two heavyweights is tied at 2 all. What’s more fascinating is the truth that the pair have shared their play-offs on clay as well. While the world no.8 crushed the Chinese in Madrid in 2011, the 2nd seed exacted her revenge a couple of weeks later at the French Open en-route to her maiden Major title in Paris.

It is extremely difficult to pick a winner out of the two as Kvitova has all the ability, the dexterity and the guile to beat anybody on any surface, but her mental aptitude puts a question mark over all those qualities to get the job done. On the other hand, Li is known for her consistency and if she can put Kvitova under the gun for a while then she should come through. Still the outcome of the match is more or less on the 23 year old’s racquet because if she finds her range, then she will walk away with the honors and if that doesn’t happen it will be a comfortable victory for Li.

Pick: Kvitova in three!

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