Each week, Baseline will take a look at a player who has thrived at one of the stops on the ATP and WTA tours during their career.
With nearly two dozen of her career titles coming on indoor and outdoor hard courts, and grass—including two victories at Wimbledon—Petra Kvitova has proven to be among the best players of her generation under quicker conditions.
And while she’s more than likely bound for the Hall of Fame based on those accomplishments, her clay-court feats aren’t without merit, particularly at the Premier Mandatory event in Madrid.
Having won her first career title in 2009 on the hard courts in Hobart, Australia, it would be another two years before the young Czech triumphed again. Getting the 2011 season off to a quick start with the title in Brisbane, Australia, Kvitova added another a month later indoors in France. Kicking off her spring clay-court campaign in Madrid, Kvitova would go on to win the biggest title of her career and first on clay, defeating three top 10 players along the way.
The victory also marked a significant milestone for her as she cracked the top 10 for the first time. Though she was stopped in the fourth round of the French Open, she resumed her winning ways on the grass, taking 11 of 12 matches, posting a runner-up finish in Eastbourne, England, and her first Wimbledon title.
Over the next several years, Kvitova established herself as a perennial member of the top 10, picking up her second Wimbledon title in 2014. A year later, the Czech once again triumphed in Madrid. After going the distance in her first two matches, she didn’t drop another set on her way to the title as she beat top seed Serena Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova, respectively, in the semifinals and finals.
At the end of 2016, a horrific attack at home threatened to derail Kvitova’s career, but she returned to action several months later at the French Open. After Paris, she won on grass in Birmingham, England, but still finished the year outside of the top 20.
The following year, though, Kvitova’s comeback was in full effect: Getting over a first-round loss at the Australian Open, she went on a 14-match winning streak right afterward. Her clay-court campaign got off to a slow start, but she managed to win her third title of the year at home in Prague. Carrying that momentum over to a tournament where she had so much success, Kvitova won again in Madrid: Seeded 10th, she only dropped two sets on her way to the title, defeating Kiki Bertens in the final.
That was her fourth of five titles on the year, and further showed that her power game translates to the clay in Spain quite effectively.