Petra on cloud nine after Madrid QF win over Kasatkina

Two-time Mutua Madrid Open champion and No.10 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic kept her fine form rolling on Thursday, winning her quarterfinal match over No.14 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia, 6-4, 6-0, to move into the final four in the Spanish capital.

In the first meeting between the two players, Kvitova powered past the 21-year-old Russian with her usual combination of incredible forehands and lethal serves, clinching the last semifinal spot in Madrid in just 65 minutes.

The big-hitting Kvitova was very difficult to overcome, as her power game resulted in 26 winners and just 18 unforced errors, while Kasatkina had only 6 winners to 13 miscues. Kvitova won a whopping 86 percent of points on her first serve, while she also was excellent on return, allowing Kasatkina only 36 percent of points on the Russian’s second serve.

In the semifinals, Kvitova will face her compatriot Karolina Pliskova, after the No.6 seed shocked World No.1 and two-time defending champion Simona Halep, 6-4, 6-3, in an earlier quarterfinal match on Thursday.

Petra advances to Madrid quarters

No.10 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic fought through a closely contested battle with Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit at the Mutua Madrid Open on Wednesday, ultimately prevailing 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3, to advance to the quarterfinals.

The two-time champion in Madrid recovered from a first-set collapse to clinch the three-set encounter in two hours and 16 minutes, claiming her eighth straight match win, including a title at the J&T Banka Prague Open in her home country last week.

Kvitova will face either home nation favorite No.3 seed Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain or No.14 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia in the quarterfinals, as they will face off on Manolo Santana Court on Wednesday evening.

Petra keeps winning, quells Puig in Madrid

No.10 seed Petra Kvitova survived a tenacious Monica Puig and an ill-timed Spice Girls interruption to extend her winning streak to seven, edging out the wildcard 6-3, 7-6(8) in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open – her first win over Puig in three tries.

The Czech, whose sole loss on European soil this year was to Angelique Kerber in the first round of Stüttgart two weeks ago, showed no ill effects from having begun her Madrid campaign on Sunday, the day after lifting the trophy at home in Prague.

For both players, the quality of their service proved crucial. The Puerto Rican opened her account with two comfortable holds and, in the fifth game, held from double break point down with four consecutive unreturned serves – but the 24-year-old’s second serve was a vulnerability that Kvitova kept pouncing on.

While the former World No.2 maintained an excellent first serve percentage of 70% in the first set, Puig’s fell to only 58% – and, combined with a second serve winning percentage of only 47%, this spelled doom for the 2016 Olympic gold medallist as she was broken twice in a row to fall behind by a set.

A much tighter second set found Puig raising her level as Kvitova’s game became patchier – but the World No.65 wasn’t always able to take her opportunities. Having failed to create a break point chance throughout the first set, a series of aggressive and accurate returns garnered her eight over the course of the second.

However, Puig was unable to convert any, due to a combination of Kvitova’s clutch play (such as a forehand winner at full stretch in the first game) and her own inconsistency on return (mishitting a second serve return into the ground in the 12th game).

The two-time Wimbledon champion’s service wobbled all the way to the end of the match as her double fault count rose to nine, and would also start to beckon her opponent back into the match with misses such as the sitter she would smash into the tramlines into the second set.

When Puig’s forehand began clicking towards the end of the set, a decider seemed on the cards – but Kvitova managed to stave off two break points at 5-5, and the stage was set for a dramatic tiebreak.

Despite a scattershot mixture of double faults, aces and errors in its opening stages, Kvitova seemed to have settled first when, at 5-5, she played her most patient point of the match: a masterpiece of controlled aggression that ended with a wrongfooting winner. However, consecutive double faults – and, in between, a surprise interruption from the Spice Girls as the stadium DJ miscued the opening bars of “Wannabe” at top volume – meant that the match was far from over.

Leading 7-6, Puig shaped up to punish a short ball – but instead pushed it marginally long. It would be her final chance in a match marked by missed opportunities. At 8-8, a ninth ace gave Kvitova her third match point, and this time she made no mistake with her forehand power to set up a third-round match with either Anett Kontaveit or Aliaksandra Sasnovich.


Courtesy of // photo: Getty Images Europe

Petra crowned at home with triumph in Prague

Last year, she was a spectator. This year, she’s a champion. No.2 seed Petra Kvitova claimed her third title of the season at the J&T Banka Prague Open on Saturday, as she rallied from a set down to defeat No.7 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

The two-time Wimbledon champion was still recovering from a hand injury as a result of a winter home invasion at this time last year, but nonetheless made an appearance as an interested spectator for last year’s final between compatriot Kristyna Pliskova and Mona Barthel.

A year later, Kvitova made her debut on the court at the International-level event on home soil this week and lost just one set en route to her first clay court title in three years.

The win is Kvitova’s third title of the season in three different environments, as she was also crowned champion at two hard court events earlier this season – indoors at the St. Petersburg Ladies’ Trophy and outdoors at the Qatar Total Open.

Petra roars into Prague final

A stunning first set comeback helped No.2 seed Petra Kvitova book her place in the final at the J&T Banka Prague Open over Zhang Shuai on Friday, 7-6(6), 6-0. Trailing 5-1 in the tiebreak, the two-time Wimbledon champion hit three winners in the next six points en route to leveling the action to later steal the set, and rolled her momentum into the final with a bagel in the second set.

The Czech No.2 struck a staggering 37 winners – 15 of which came in the last six games – in the match to just 17 unforced errors overall, and never faced a break point to level her head-to-head against the Chinese No.1 in their fourth career meeting.

“I was a better player for one hour and almost lost the [first] set,” Kvitova said of her Houdini act after the match. “This would’ve been extremely difficult for my head to cope with. I started the tiebreak very badly. I missed two returns, played poorly. I tried to calm myself after it and tried to play bit softer. I knew I wouldn’t get some aces from her, so I knew I still would have chances.”


Making her debut at the tour-level tournament in Prague in its fourth edition, Kvitova will next face No.7 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu, who pulled off a comeback of her own against Italian Camila Giorgi in the other semifinal.

“It’s strange, that another tournament [in Madrid] already begins and I still play here,” said Kvitova, who is a former champion at next week’s Premier Mandatory event and will look to add a home trophy on clay to her career haul on Saturday.

Petra sinks Siniakova to reach semis

No.2 seed Petra Kvitova continued her march through the draw at the J&T Banka Prague Open on Thursday, becoming the first player through to the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No.8 seed Katerina Siniakova.

After seeing a 24-match winning streaks against fellow Czechs come to an end at the Volvo Car Open last month, Kvitova has been back to her winning ways in Prague.

The Czech No.2 has recorded two wins against compatrtiots in three matches this week to reach the semifinals in her tournament debut.

Behind 21 winners and five breaks of serve, Kvitova largely cruised over the course of 70 mintes after falling behind by a break in the first game of the match.

A stretch of eight straight points put the two-time Wimbledon champion ahead from there, however, as the two countrywomen remained on serve until Kvitova secured a second break in the eighth game of the set.

The World No.10 wrapped up the opener with a flourish, as her second love hold of the set powered her to a one-set lead in just over a half hour.

The second set proved more of the same for Kvitova, though this time she broke the World No.51 in the first game of the set and remained ahead from there.

The two-time Wimbledon champion added a second break to lead 5-2, and though she withstood some late resistance from her younger compatrtiot, wrapped up the victory on her second match point.

Kvitova will next face the winner of the match between No.6 seed Zhang Shuai and Italian lucky loser Jasmine Paolini.

Petra cruises into last eight in Prague

No.2 seed Petra Kvitova rolled into the quarterfinals on home soil at the J&T Banka Prague Open on Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

The World No.10 has dropped just eight games in two matches after posting a 6-1, 6-3 first round win over compatriot Tereza Smitkova, and sets up a quarterfinal meeting with another Czech in Katerina Siniakova or another Russian in Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Breaks for the two-time Wimbledon champion early on in each set helped set the tone for the 56-minute match, as Kvitova was a perfect 4-for-4 on break point chances in the match, and struck over three times the winners of her opponent (16 to 5).

Just as she did in her first round match against another opponent she’d never before played, Kvitova took little time to get going and stamp her authority on the match.

The World No.10 won four straight games after the 21-year-old Russian held serve to open the match, and added an insurance break to cap the first set in style.

In the second set, Kvitova saved a break point in the first game – the lone chance that Vikhlyantseva created in the match – and won both the first three games and the last three to move safely through to the quarterfinals.

Petra powers past Smitkova in Prague

No.2 seed Petra Kvitova showed her class in defeating wildcard Tereza Svitkova, 6-1, 6-3 at the J&T Banka Prague Open.

Following the withdrawal of Karlina Pliskova, the WTA World No.10 is the tournament’s highest ranked player and looked every inch a contender for the title as she dismantled her Czech compatriot after suffering a brief lapse in the second set.

Although Smitkova won the opening game of the match, she was forced to save break points thanks to some solid first serving.

Kvitova’s power and accuracy when presented with opportunities on second serve were to prove devastating, although the 28-year-old was rather presented with her breakthrough in the match’s third game. Smitkova had initially done well to thwart her rival with an ace but then double faulted after making an unforced error to gift away the break.

The higher-ranked player was in ruthless mood thereafter, giving away nothing on her own serve while breaking the WTA World No.227 twice more. Again, Smitkova had a part to play in her own downfall, leaving a shot that landed on the baseline when break point down.

After Kvitova had closed out the opening set in characteristically efficient style, she set about asserting her dominance in the second. Her opponent had been given advice by her coach at the interval and showed some renewed resistance, but it was not sufficient to prevent the Top 10 player breaking immediately.

On serve, Kvitova continued untroubled, with her power simply too great for her opponent. She reeled off nine straight games before finally allowing another to slip, firing long to save her opponent the embarrassment of a bagel.

This was evidence, however, of a lapse in concentration. A succession of loose points in the next game brought up three break opportunities for Smitova, who took the second when Kvitova hit long.

Suddenly Kvitova faced a fight to wrestle back the momentum and after Smitova held serve she was taken to deuce on her own delivery before stopping the rot.

In the eighth game, she hit back, breaking at the second attempt to once more nudge herself into the ascendancy.

And this time she had done enough to stave off her spirited opponent, holding to 15 to book a match with Natalia Vikhlyantseva in her first foray in this competition.


Petra falls to Kerber in opener

Three days after their Fed Cup clash on this very court, two-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber turned the tables on former World No.2 Petra Kvitova, securing a 6-3, 6-2 victory to keep her hopes of a third Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title alive.

Kerber had won just four games against Kvitova during last weekend’s Fed Cup semifinal against the Czech Republic, and appeared eager for revenge from first ball, navigating through some tough opening games to grab the only two breaks to take the early advantage.

Back-to-back champion in Stuttgart between 2015 and 2016, the German took another big lead in the second set, securing victory on her third match point after one hour and 17 minutes on court.

Kvitova employed her aggressive game throughout, but was undone by 32 unforced errors compared to 28 winners; Kerber, by contrast, converted four of six break points and saved all three break points faced on her own serve. // Photo: Alex Grimm/Getty Images Europe

Czechmate for Team Czech Republic

A sublime weekend of tennis concluded for Petra Kvitova with a convincing 62 62 drubbing of Angelique Kerber, sending the Czechs into their sixth Fed Cup by BNP Paribas with a 3-1 win over host Germany here inside Porsche-Arena in Stuttgart.

With the win, Kvitova earns her 30th Fed Cup rubber victory, and will headline a team that will host either France of the U.S. in November for a home final in front of what is sure to be a raucous Czech crowd.

Julia Goerges put in her own impressive performance on Sunday afternoon, delivering a blistering 63 62 win over Karolina Pliskova to pull German within 1-2 after an 0-2 start on Saturday.

As Kvitova and Kerber took to the court, the match was 50-50: They had played ten times prior, owning five victories each.

But Kvitova couldn’t be stopped, carrying over her momentum from the Goerges win 24 hours earlier and playing some of her best tennis as Kerber appeared flat, overwhelmed and frustrated by her foe’s deadly serve and pinpoint groundstrokes.

Czech Republic is undefeated in their previous five final appearances in the recent past, and will look to have a strong chance to continue said sparkly recorded later this year.