The ATP’s and WTA’s movers and shakers for 2018: David Goffin and Petra Kvitova

David Goffin and Petra Kvitova were the other injury affected players who have the potential of shaking up the ATP and WTA in 2018.

2017 was a break-out year for David Goffin.

David Goffin had a break-out 2017. He missed six weeks in 2017 due to an ankle injury suffered during the French Open. In the second half, however, he gained tremendous ground to finish the season 7th, with a 59-24 win-loss record, and two titles.

In the finals of the Davis Cup, Goffin’s valiant efforts fell short of winning the trophy despite his convincing beatdown of Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille. He even won both his rubbers in the World Group semifinals against Australia, where he took down the big serving and very talented Nick Kyrgios.

The ATP Finals in London were a revelation for Goffin himself.

It was a miracle that Goffin did not bury himself under an avalanche of doubts, double faults, and easy misses and managed to put an end to Nadal’s one match run at the ATP Finals in London this year. His 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4 win over Rafael Nadal was crucial in giving him the confidence to beat Roger Federer in the semifinals.

Until his win over Roger Federer at the ATP Finals, Goffin’s inability to close on the important occasions, such as game-points and match points, raised severe doubts over his slam prospects. He seemed to have lacked the heart on the big points. Against Roger Federer, David Goffin played an aggressive brand of tennis. He played the Roger Federer brand of tennis better than Roger Federer himself. He moved forward, took the ball early, and time away from the opponent. Goffin did not even hesitate to execute deft swing-volleys when required.

Against Grigor Dimitrov, in the final of ATP Finals, David Goffin was the more effective and better player for about two sets. It was Goffin who took charge of the rallies and played proactive tennis. David Goffin dominated that match for the most part but still lost in the end.

Has Goffin acquired the winning formula on fast indoor courts?

David Goffin, it seems, has acquired the winning formula on fast indoor courts. 2018 will show if he can successfully apply that winning formula over slower surfaces? Goffin has the talent, but he lacks the size and the power needed to hit consistently big with the big boys. Against Grigor Dimitrov too, David Goffin played to win but couldn’t sustain the level in the third set.

Goffin did well in the post US Open season.

Goffin won back-to-back tournaments in the Asian swing, and then beat the number one and two players in the world at the ATP Finals in London. Most importantly, he was the better and more aggressive player in both those encounters. To play as aggressive as Roger Federer is in itself a feather in one’s cap, and Goffin outplayed Roger Federer in aggression.

David Goffin’s other noteworthy accomplishments, in the first half, were the scalps of Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

What can we expect from David Goffin in 2018?

David always had the talent and has now developed the aggressive mindset which is crucial for winning the big prizes. David Goffin’s lack of height and natural power will necessitate a Herculean effort on his part, and will require him to be aggressive over seven matches against bigger and stronger players, in the slams. However, anything is possible, David will need a whole lot of luck and the draw to open up as drastically as it did too for Rafael Nadal in the US Open 2017.

 

Petra Kvitova showed some rust upon her return at the French Open.

Petra Kvitova returned to tennis, after her wrist surgery, at the French Open this year. She lost 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) in the second round to Bethanie Mattek Sands.

She was in her element on the grass and won Birmingham by taking down Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the quarters, and Ashleigh Barty 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the finals. However, Petra Kvitova was not able to carry that winning form into the Wimbledon and lost in the second round to Madison Brengle.

Petra struggled in the hard-court and indoor season in 2017.

The US hard-court season was not very kind to her and she was beaten twice by Sloane Stephens and lost 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (2) in a tightly contested three-setter to Venus Williams in the quarterfinals of the US Open. Kvitova, however, beat Garbine Muguruza and Caroline Garcia before going down to Venus Williams. Her performance at the US Open demonstrated that she still has the game that can take down the best when it is working. After the US Open, Petra’s only noteworthy performance came at the Beijing Premier Mandatory where she took down Caroline Wozniacki in the pre-quarters but went down 6-3, 7-5 to Caroline Garcia in the semifinals. Kvitova lost in the first round to Lin Zhu in Tianjin and ended her 2017 season.

Petra Kvitova is well liked by all.

Kvitova won the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award again in 2017, and this was the sixth time in the last seven years that she won. It is awarded to a player for conducting oneself professionally and observing the rules of fair play. Winning the award for the sixth time, in the last seven years, confirms that Petra Kvitova is not only a great player but also well-liked by her peers.

Petra Kvitova’s playing style.

Petra Kvitova not only hits flat and hard but also carries a powerful serve. She has soft hands at the net and a great overall feel for the ball in general. Petra Kvitova is a tremendously talented lefty who can dazzle with a wide array of shots and sharp tactical acumen on the court. She, however, is prone to making unforced and double faults, and her movement is not as good as Halep’s, Wozniacki’s, and Muguruza’s. Her favorite surface is the grass and when at her best, she is unstoppable on it.

What can we expect from Kvitova in 2018?

After a washed-out 2016 and promising 2017, we expect Kvitova to be well prepared and win a few hard and grass court events in 2018. If healthy and well practiced, Petra Kvitova is always a contender at the Wimbledon and we expect 2018 to be no different.