Smoke threat recedes as Australian Open approaches https://t.co/qkIa6QU6jC pic.twitter.com/Xju71pwutN— Reuters (@Reuters) January 18, 2020
Petra Kvitova begins her 2020 Australian Open campaign against countrywoman Katerina Siniakova, and--if she wins that--she will face either Paula Badosa or qualifier Johanna Larsson. The Kvitova quarter features such potentially dangerous opponents as Madison Keys, Julia Goerges, Petra Martic, Maria Sakkari, and--most notable--world number 1 Ash Barty.
There is plenty of work to be done for the 7th seed. But beyond the challenge of knocking out really good opponents, Kvitova--who has asthma and who, in the past, was vulnerable to getting respiratory infections--will also have to deal with a Melbourne whose air quality has recently been rated as "hazardous" because of the Australian bush fires. This is, of course, a potential danger for all players, but especially for those, like Kvitova, who are already vulnerable.
The Czech star said a couple of years ago that her asthma is now under much better management, a fact which appears obvious to observers. But the air in Melbourne could still be a special danger for her. Kvitova has also been bothered by a sore arm for several months, but that issue appeared to have been resolved when she played in Brisbane.
Meanwhile, there are some very interesting first rounds coming up:
Naomi Osaka (1) vs. Marie Bouzkova
Venus Williams vs. Coco Gauff
Donna Vekic (19) vs. Maria Sharapova (WC)
Alize Cornet vs. Monica Niculescu (Q)
Yulia Putintseva vs. Hsieh Su-wei
Garbine Muguruza vs. Shelby Rogers (Q)
Kristina Mladenovic vs. Karolina Pliskova (2)