26 Jan 2019

Kvitova hunting 'killer instinct'

5:15 pm on 26 January 2019

Playing so well she hasn't practiced all tournament, Petra Kvitova is living in a bubble as she seeks to find her "killer instincts" against Naomi Osaka in Saturday night's Australian Open final.

Czech tennis star Petra Kvitova.

Czech tennis star Petra Kvitova. Photo: Photosport/Icon Sportswire

The two-time Wimbledon champion is chasing an emotional third grand slam title just 25 months after suffering a knife attack which threatened her career.

Having taken out the Sydney International title, the Czech world No 6 is on an 11-match winning streak that has her primed for a showdown with reigning US Open champion Osaka.

Determined to keep the 28-year-old in the zone, Kvitova's team have kept the mood light-hearted and closed ranks around her.

"Sometimes ... we call it if she's in her bubble, that she play this way," coach Jiri Vanek said.

"But sometimes happen, like two, three months she's not in the bubble, and then she play different way.

"We just try to put her (in) her bubble. Then she find her killer instincts."

Asked what could take Kvitova out of her bubble, Vanek replied, "everything".

"Can be somebody can come and say what is not really nice and so we keep her away from other people," he said.

"We just stay together with her, with our fitness coach and we just have our team and we don't need somebody else to be with."

Doctors gave Kvitova a 10 per cent chance of again playing elite tennis after the violent home invasion in late-2016 which left her with a near-severed finger and nerve damage in her hand.

Having started the year in such hot form, the left-hander has opted not to have practice hits on days off at Melbourne Park.

"Petra is kind of player she doesn't need to be on the court, especially during the tournament," said Vanek.

"In the beginning, we said, 'okay, between the first and second match we have for sure day off'.

"Then you feel in the second match you start to play good again ... we make day off and she start to play great as well.

"Now we cannot change it."