Svitolina stops Petra in Singapore opener

The 2018 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global opened on Sunday with a bang, as No.6 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine claimed only her second win in nine meetings with No.4 seed Petra Kvitova, beating the Czech, 6-3, 6-3, to take the lead in the round-robin portion of the event. (…)

Kvitova started shakily, dropping serve in the first game after a plethora of forehand errors. But deep returning helped her strike back immediately to level the set at 1-1, as she hoped to extend her streak of 12 consecutive sets won against Svitolina.

The Ukrainian, however, had other ideas, using spirited movement around the court to dismiss the sudden rash of dropshots from the Czech and stay even through 3-3. Svitolina then took advantage of more errors from Kvitova to reclaim her break lead at 4-3.

Kvitova ramped up her aggression even further, frequently rushing the net to try to grasp the break back, but Svitolina was unbowed. Svitolina opened up the 5-3 game with an amazing volley winner, and raced to triple set point. Kvitova double faulted on the second set point to hand Svitolina a set for the first time in their head-to-head since 2015.

Svitolina refused to give up the momentum as the second set started, showing her mettle by staving off three break points to hold for 2-1, and coming back from 0-30 down in her next service game, punching an ace to hold for 3-2.

The Ukrainian was rewarded for that fight with the decisive service break in the next game, as Kvitova’s forehand continued to misfire, giving Svitolina two break points. The sixth seed needed only one, as Kvitova sprayed another miscue long to provide Svitolina with a 4-2 advantage.

Kvitova survived a tough game at 4-3, holding with a lovely backhand volley and putting the pressure on Svitolina to serve out the match. But Svitolina was up to the task on the day, using incredible depth on her groundstrokes to come out on top during most rallies, and converting her first match point as a forehand by the Ukrainian forced a wide error from her opponent.

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Gavrilova grounds Petra to begin China Open

Daria Gavrilova scored her second victory over a Grand Slam champion in as many weeks on Saturday, as she defeated No.5 seed Petra Kvitova in the first round of the China Open, 6-2, 6-1.

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An up-and-down performance from the World No.5 sealed her fate in the first match of the day on the Diamond Court, as she was largely the one who finished the points in one way or the other.

Kvitova racked up 39 unforced errors over the course of 93 minutes, despite also totaling 26 winners, and lost serve six times in the match overall.

The opening set began ominously for the World No.5, who lost her next two service games from deuce after holding fairly comfortably to begin the match.

Trailing 4-1, Kvitova earned her lone break of the match in one of five deuce games which ultimately dotted the landscape of the opening set.

Nonetheless, she was unable to gather any sustained momenum, and surrendered the last two games – including the last five points of the set after building a 0-40 lead on the Aussie’s serve – to drop the opener.

Despite tallying 17 winners in the first set, Kvitova also logged 17 unforced errors, while Gavrilova recorded four winners and five unforced.

The Aussie also avoided the pitfall of too many second serves by having an excellent day at the line, as she landed 81 percent of her first serves overall and a sparkling 87 percent in the first set.

Kvitova remained unable to find the answers to Gavrilova’s staunch defending in the second set, with several marathon rallies going the Aussie’s way as games flipped to her side of the scoreboard.

The World No.33 hit a tidy 12 winners to 12 unforced errors in the match, and stamped her authority on the second set with a love break to begin it.

Two more breaks for Gavrilova followed, as Kvitova hit five of her six double faults in the match in the second set, and the 24-year-old wrapped up the upset in a titantic, eight-deuce affair in the final game on her fourth match point.

 

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Pavlyuchenkova downs two-time champ Petra in Wuhan

Unseeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova came from a set down to defeat two-time champion Petra Kvitova and reach the quarterfinals of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Wednesday, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The World No.39 needed over two hours to score her best victory in terms of ranking since she defeated then-World No.3 Garbiñe Muguruza at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in April.

Unseeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ensured the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open will crown a new champion this year, thanks to a third round upset of Petra Kvitova.

Though the Russian was the first to break serve in the match, building a 0-40 lead en route to winning Kvitova’s third service game on her second chance to move ahead 3-2, that proved to be the last game she’d win in the opener.

The two-time champion in Wuhan powered through the next four games in a row, twice breaking the World No.39 to flip the set around to 5-3, and sealed the set in a titanic ninth game where she saved five break points.

Despite serving at just 42 percent, the two-time Wimbledon champion won over 70 percent of the points played on her first serve in the first set, and played well in the clutch to save six of seven break point opportunities she faced.

Nonetheless, Pavlyuchenkova rounded into form as the match wore on, with an early break in the second set helping her cause to take the match the distance.

The Russian led 0-40 in Kvitova’s first serve game of the set, again breaking to 15, to take a lead she would never relinquish. Kvitova saved a break point in each of her next three service games, but clutch play on serve meant the Russian would not rue her missed chances.

The 27-year-old dropped just seven points on serve in the second set,  never facing break point, and hit nearly the same amount of winners to her Czech for (9 to 10) with less than half the unforced errors (6 to 14).

In the final set, the players traded early breaks, with the Russian earning the first advantage for the third straight set and Kvitova hitting back to level the action at 2-2.

However, after falling behind for the first time int he set, Pavlyuchenkova responded in a big way, and claimed the last four games en route to defeating Kvitova for the first time in six years.

Controlled aggression won out for Pavlyuchenkova over the course of two hours and 13 minutes, as she struck 21 winners to 19 unforced errors overall.

The Russian created a staggering 21 break point opportunities over the course of the match, converting five, as Kvitova managed 28 winners to 37 unforced errors overall.

 

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Petra cruises past Krunic to reach Wuhan 3rd round

No.5 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, twice a winner of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, started her quest for a third title in five years with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia in the second round on Tuesday.

Kvitova was the inaugural champion in Wuhan in 2014 and doubled up with another trophy in 2016. The Czech, though, had lost her only previous meeting with Krunic, as the Serb claimed a stunning upset in the third round of the US Open in 2014. However, Kvitova avenged that loss with the Wuhan win in one hour and 20 minutes.

“Definitely, I’m very satisfied how I played today,” Kvitova told the press, after the match. “I lost to her the last time we played. She is playing a little bit unusual than the other players. I knew it will be difficult. But my serve helped me a lot today. I was very pleased with that. I think I really kept everything what I had to, played aggressive, but not too much risk.”

“When you are coming somewhere where you know you played well before, it’s always easier for the mind,” Kvitova continued.

 

The Czech star improved her lifetime Wuhan record to 13-2 after the victory over Krunic.

In the third round, Kvitova will take on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, who eliminated No.12 seed and last week’s Seoul titlist Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, 6-4, 6-2, earlier on Thursday.

 

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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