US Open: Sabalenka overpowers Petra to storm into 4th Rd

Aryna Sabalenka extended her winning streak to eight matches in a row after stunning the No.5 seed Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-1 under the lights at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Sabalenka, who lifted her first WTA trophy last week in New Haven, came into her first US Open main draw sitting at a career-high ranking of World No.20 and seeded at a Grand Slam for the first time.

She’s shown no signs of slowing down, firing 21 winners across two sets to storm into the fourth round at the US Open – her best Grand Slam result to date.

The 20-year-old Belarusian had Kvitova under pressure from the start, creating two break chances on the Czech’s first service game and then grabbing the first break a few games later to lead 2-1. Sabalenka had points to extend her lead to a double break, but Kvitova came roaring back, stepping into her shots and leveling the score at 3-3.

The pair traded breaks twice, with Sabalenka having to fight her way back into it both times as Kvitova broke to level the set at 3-3 and later again at 5-5. Sabalenka’s relentless attacking of Kvitova’s second serve finally rewarded her with the decisive break at 6-5, and the New Haven champion comfortably served it out to love.

With Sabalenka dialed in and blasting winners off both wings, the second set was a decidedly one-sided affair as she reeled off the last six games in a row to seal her spot into the second week of the US Open.

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Petra battles by Wang into US Open 3R

Petra Kvitova continued to make progress at the US Open, moving into the third round after a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Wang Yafan.

The No.5 seed made a strong start to the match but suffered a first-set lapse and threatened to fall behind. However, she found the resources to get the opener on the board before running away with the second.

There were no problems for the Czech in the opening game of the match as she broke with relative ease, yet on her own delivery there was a taste of things to come as she immediately surrendered her advantage.

The tennis early on was fast paced and hectic, with both players seeking to take time away from the other, resulting in dramatic momentum swings.

Kvitova was just a little more consistent initially and opened up a 4-1 advantage.

Wang’s comeback began when a Kvitova serve was controversially ruled out.

Upon challenging, it was shown to have kissed the line, yet she was not given the ace she wished and ultimately lost the game. Another service game would be to love as the Chinese overhauled her and moved into a 5-4 advantage.

This was the ultimate hot-and-cold set from the higher-ranked player, who rallied finally when the odds were against her. An epic rally won down 30-0 on the Wang serve was the catalyst to her recovery, leading her to three successive games and the first set, which was sealed with a tremendous roar.

The second set was not as fraught, but was a touch more consistent from Kvitova. When her lapses came, she tended to have built a large enough advantage in the game to ensure they were not critical.

Again she raced ahead early in the set, and for a period threaten to run away with it. Wang saved a break point in the third game – the first time she had done so in the match – but was unable to make serious inroads into her opponent.

With the finishing line in sight, Kvitova powered to match point, and though the first was saved, a powerful forehand winner brought up another, which was won with a thumping backhand.

She will now face either Vera Zvonareva or the in-form Aryna Sabalenka.

 

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US Open, 1st Rd: Petra dismisses Yanina Wickmayer

No.5 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic came back from a break down in the second set to claim a 6-1, 6-4 victory over 2009 US Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium in the first round of the 2018 edition on Tuesday morning.

Kvitova and Wickmayer have had a closely-contested history, with Kvitova holding a slight 5-4 edge, and Wickmayer beat Kvitova en route to the final four at the US Open nine years ago. But in their first meeting since 2013, Kvitova got the job done, reeling off five straight games from 1-4 down to close out the 71-minute tilt.

Former World No.2 Kvitova had 28 winners to Wickmayer’s eight during the match, including eight aces, and the Czech left-hander won nearly 80 percent of points on her vaunted first serve. The Czech has won five titles this year, and is celebrating her second week back in the Top 5 of the WTA rankings since an absence from that cohort dating back to October of 2015.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova moves into the second round in New York for the seventh consecutive year, where she will face either Wang Yafan of China or Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia.

 

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Suárez Navarro makes SF over injured Petra

Carla Suárez Navarro of Spain moved into the semifinals of the Connecticut Open on Thursday after No.3 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic retired due to a left shoulder injury. The final score was 6-3, ret. in favor of Suárez Navarro.

The Spaniard only needed one break of serve to close out the opening set, before three-time Connecticut Open champion Kvitova took a medical timeout and determined she was unable to continue, after 43 minutes of play. Suárez Navarro has now leveled their head-to-head record at six wins apiece.

Kvitova had 12 winners to Suárez Navarro’s four, but the Czech also had 13 unforced errors, outpacing the Spaniard’s eight. Kvitova could only get to break point once in the meeting, which she was unable to convert.

“I just felt pain throughout the shoulder,” said Petra. “Already, yesterday during the match, I started to feel it, and it didn’t get any better. I tried the first set, I tried to play, but overall, it wasn’t really going my way.” 

“I couldn’t really serve as good as I wanted, the service speed wasn’t that high,” Kvitova continued. “I just tried, but when you’re playing someone like Carla, it’s just tough to play at I-don’t-know-how-many percent. If you’re not ready, it’s just tough.”

 

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New Haven, 2nd Rd: Petra outlasts Diyas

Three-time Connecticut Open champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic moved into the quarterfinals in New Haven for the sixth time in her career after a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 victory over qualifier Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

“Probably something in the water, or in the air!” Kvitova exclaimed to the press about her superb record in New Haven, after the match. “The center court is probably a little bit faster than other courts. It’s a quiet place which I always love — it’s a calm before the storm coming in New York, so it’s a great place to be. I just feel very comfy here, very relaxed, enjoying the time here.”

 

No.3 seed Kvitova and Diyas had split their two previous meetings, but it was Kvitova who survived a nervy second set and a stern challenge from Diyas to take the rubber match in just under two hours, in their first-ever battle on hardcourt.

“Of course, I wanted to make it in two sets, but unfortunately, that happens sometimes,” said Kvitova. She continued by saying that “luckily, I came back in the third one — from the beginning [of the third set] I was there, and it was important to play each point.”

 

Kvitova has played 21 three-set matches this season, winning 17 of them, more than anyone else on the WTA in 2018. “I’m just fighting in the third sets,” explained Kvitova. “It’s about fighting in the third, I think. It’s just about a couple of points to win it.”

“Of course at the end of the season you have a lot of three-setters, and I’m just glad that I do have a better percentage in them,” Kvitova continued. “It’s not the first or last season like this, I’ve had so many three-setters before as well. I’m just kind of always putting so much effort in the third, I know it’s decided there.”

 

Kvitova struggled with 42 unforced errors, including eight double faults, but her 35 winners well outweighed Diyas’ 13. Kvitova also claimed 52 percent of points on both the first and the second serves of World No.62 Diyas, who this week played her first main draw since suffering a knee injury on grass at Nottingham in June.

Former World No.2 Kvitova, who re-entered the Top 5 on Monday for the first time since October of 2015, will take on Carla Suárez Navarro of Spain in the quarterfinals. Suárez Navarro moved into the final eight after her prospective opponent Johanna Konta withdrew before their match due to ilness.

Kvitova leads her head-to-head with Suárez Navarro 6-5, but the Spaniard has won four of their last five meetings. “I know how of a tough opponent she is,” Kvitova admitted.

“[Suárez Navarro is] a very dangerous, very tricky opponent,” Kvitova went on. “She can really mix it up, she always puts me in different positions. I never really know what’s coming from her side. We’ll see how everything will go, but I think it will be a great match, a nice one, fun to watch.”

 

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Petra beats Radwanska in New Haven opener

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova put on a vintage display of aggression to outlast fellow former World No.2 and 2016 champion Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-1, 7-6(3) at the Connecticut Open.

Kvitova has lifted the trophy three times in New Haven, and kicked off her quest for a fourth title in emphatic fashion on Monday night, surviving her longtime rival in one hour in 28 minutes on Stadium Court.

The two were facing off for the 13th time; Radwanska dropped just two games back in 2016, when Radwanska went on to win the title in New Haven.

While Radwanska has struggled with health and consistency throughout this season, Kvitova is in the midst of a career renaissance, returning to the world’s Top 5 on Monday after winning five titles on all surfaces. That form was on display from first ball as Kvitova struck a stunning 16 winners to capture the opening set, and withstood a tough test from the Pole in the second set.

Rallying from 3-1 down in the second set, the Czech powerhouse forced a tie-break and edged through the sudden death to book a second round clash with Kazakh qualifier Zarina Diyas.

 

WTATennis.com / photo: Maddie Meyer, Getty Images North America

Cincinnati, SF: Petra beaten by Bertens

Kiki Bertens rallied from a set down to defeat No.8 seed Petra Kvitova and reach the final of the Western & Southern Open on Saturday, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. For the second time in as many weeks, Bertens scored a victory over the two-time major champion on the North American hardcourts, having beaten Kvitova en route to the quarterfinals in Montreal.

Her seventh straight victory over a Top 10 player did not come easily, however, as she was forced to come from behind after losing the last five games of the first set.

After she hung on in a wild second set which saw seven breaks of serve, Bertens’ serve rounded into form in just the right time in the decider.

The Dutch No.1 didn’t face a break point in the final set and dropped just three points on serve overall, going a perfect 13-for-13 behind her first set.

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Petra reaches Cincy semis

No.8 seed Petra Kvitova became the first player through to the semifinals at the Western & Southern Open thanks to a protracted 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 win over No.15 seed Elise Mertens in Friday’s quarterfinal.

“Luckily I did have good second serves, which was very important for me to put it back to the court and play some rallies,” Kvitova told the press, after her win. “I really need to play more aggressive. That’s how I made those important points.”

 

The two-time Wimbledon champion advances to a semifinal on U.S. soil for the first time in nearly two years, having last done so at the Connecticut Open in 2016, and is back in the last four in Cincinnati for the first time since 2012.

Until this year’s run, Kvitova had failed to win back-to-back matches on any other visit to the Lindner Family Tennis Center, having reached the round of 16 after first round byes in 2011 and 2013.

The World No.6 held off a spirited charge from the Belgian in the opening set, but dropped a topsy-turvy second set and needed to come back from a break down in the final set to complete a victory in the pair’s first-ever meeting after a grueling two hours and 42 minutes of play.

“Definitely she’s a tough opponent,” Kvitova said, regarding Mertens. “And when I gave her time and I didn’t really play that aggressive, she was just going for that. I was the second player on the court, which I didn’t want.”

 

No.8 seed Petra Kvitova booked her spot in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open with a tough three-set victory over Belgian Elise Mertens.

The high-risk affair was marked by a large amount of winners and unforced errors, but Kvitova moved through with 43 winners to Mertens’ 19, and the Czech won two-thirds of points on Mertens’ second service.

Kvitova moves on to play Kiki Bertens in the semifinals, after Bertens upset Elina Svitolina later on Friday.

“She improved a lot,” Kvitova said of Bertens. “Overall, she’s serving big, and of course when we are serving better, then we are making a little bit easier points and it’s just tough to break.”

 

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Petra cruises through Mladenovic Cincinnati clash

No.8 seed Petra Kvitova kicked her US Open Series swing into high gear at the Western & Southern Open, easing past former World No.10 Kristina Mladenovic, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.

Kvitova took an early loss to Kiki Bertens last week at the Coupe Rogers, but has looked in fine form in Cincinnati, outlasting 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams on Tuesday and looking even better against Mladenovic, advancing in just under 90 minutes on Stadium 3.

Delayed several hours by rain, Kvitova and Mladenovic took the court for three points only to be chased off by another storm.

Once they returned, the duo exchanged breaks late in the opening set with Kvitova ultimately emerging on top, serving out the set to 15.

The second set began in dramatic fashion, playing an opening game that went to seven deuces and featured six break points before Kvitova broke serve.

That seemed to clinch the momentum for the former World No.2, who raced out to a 5-0 lead and served with a match point.

Mladenovic, a reigning Australian Open women’s doubles champion with Timea Babos, showed she’s still one to over-estimate in singles, breaking back and holding to force Kvitova to try serving it out a second time.

With three more match points at 40-0, the Czech star needed just two to secure victory. In all, Kvitova struck a solid 20 winners to 23 unforced errors, while Mladenovic matched that number in errors but only hit 11 winners.

Up next for Kvitova is either No.15 seed Elise Mertens or US Open champion Sloane Stephens for a spot in the semifinals.

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