Beijing, 1st Rd: Petra powers past Pliskova

In a battle of the Czech left-handers, No.12 seed Petra Kvitova has posted an efficient 6-3, 7-5 victory over Kristyna Pliskova to move into the second round of the China Open.

It was the first meeting between the pair, but Kvitova’s supremacy over her countrywomen has long been noteworthy. The 27-year-old came into today’s match riding a 22-match winning streak over her fellow Czechs stretching back half a decade since her loss to Lucie Hradecka in the second round of Madrid in 2012 – one of a scant three overall losses to Czechs she has suffered in her career.

The opening stages of the match were unsurprisingly dominated by the serve. Over the course of the day Kvitova would hammer down seven aces to Pliskova’s six; the first five games flashed past without a sniff of a break point for either player and only one deuce, on Kvitova’s opening delivery. Rallies were in short supply: if players weren’t hammering down outright aces, the points tended to be service winners or simple putaways elicited by big serves. The only sign of weakness was a subpar 43% first serve percentage from Kvitova – but Pliskova was unable to take advantage.

The breakthrough came in the sixth game as the 2014 Beijing runner-up began to read her 25-year-old opponent’s delivery to superb effect. A booming crosscourt forehand return and a backhand return straight at Pliskova’s feet set Kvitova up with three break points, and she took the third of them with a neat forehand winner. Though the World No.14 would squander two set points on Pliskova’s next service game with errant forehands, she made no mistake in serving the set out to love.

The 27-year-old seemed on the verge of running away with the momentum when she powered her way to three break points at the start of the second set – but Pliskova stepped up with a backhand winner and an ace to dig herself out of immediate trouble. The World No.41 couldn’t duplicate her escape two games later, sending a backhand long to concede the break.

However, she could take advantage of Kvitova’s indecision on her shot selection in the following game. A netted dropshot attempt put the seeded player down 0-30, and Pliskova raked a stinging forehand winner to carve out her very first break points of the match – converting the second when Kvitova sent a forehand wide.

All square once again at 2-2, the match proceeded to resume its earlier serve-dominated pattern with six consecutive holds – mostly smooth sailing, bar a brief moment of drama in the seventh game when consecutive double faults from 40-0 up nearly undid Pliskova. At 5-5, though, it was the two-time Slam champion who raised her game, standing further inside the court to display her aggressive intent on the Pliskova delivery. It paid off: a deep, heavy return on break point rocked the younger player back on her feet, and Kvitova once again had little trouble in serving the match out.

Having extended her ownership of her countrywomen to a 23-match winning streak, Kvitova’s reward is a second-round encounter against either Lesia Tsurenko or a qualifier.

WTATennis.com

Wuhan: Petra loses out in titanic tussle with Peng

Defending champion Petra was knocked out of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open in one of the best WTA matches of the year. Home favourite Peng Shuai produced some spectacular tennis to win 7-6(7), 6-7(5), 7-6(3) in three hours and 34 minutes, the longest tour-level match of the season.

Petra was disappointed but found many positives in defeat at one of her favourite tournaments.

“It’s always more difficult to play someone who has the home crowd advantage, but I heard many fans cheering for me too, which was nice,” said Petra afterwards.

“It was one of the longest matches I have played – the record I think. I should have won the first set tiebreak when I led 6-3, but anyway I really fought hard and still tried to play every point. In the end she was just a little bit luckier.”

 

Petra’s next tournament will be the China Open in Beijing.

Petra donates clubhouse to childhood tennis club

Fresh off a quarterfinal appearance at the US Open, Petra Kvitova returned home to the Czech Republic this week to give back to her home town — and the tennis courts she grew up on — in a special way. The two-time Wimbledon champion donated a clubhouse to the club where she started playing tennis, and as a gift to the city of Fulnek.

“Those courts hold special memories for me, so I was really pleased I could help in some way and give back to the place that gave me so much at the beginning of my journey in tennis,” Kvitova said.

 

Named in her honor, the colors inside the clubhouse also pay homage the tournament that turned her into a global superstar –Wimbledon — with green floors and purple accents. The club is still a family affair for the Czech lefty as well: Kvitova’s father, the former vice mayor of her hometown, still frequents the club to play, while her older brother, Libor, is the head coach and manager of the courts.

“It was great to be back there and of course to see my family and friends. I hope everyone in Fulnek will really enjoy using it!”

 

Kvitova’s heart and generosity have been well-rewarded this month, as the Czech was also the recipient of the sixth annual US Open Sportsmanship Award by the USTA, presented to the players who exemplify exceptional sportsmanship during the US Open Series and US Open.

WTATennis.com

 

Petra falls to Venus in US Open epic

Venus Williams reached the US Open semi-final with a win over Petra in a final-set tie-break. The 37-year-old American won 6-3 3-6 7-6(2) in front of a rapturous night-session crowd in New York.

The American earned a 0-40 advantage on Kvitova’s serve while down 2-1 in the deciding set after getting broken in the previous game. But the Czech won five straight points to maintain her lead, and Williams looked like she might have missed her juiciest chance to get back in it.

But in the set’s sixth game, Williams won four points in succession to get back on serve, Kvitova striking a double fault to give back her advantage.

After both player’s held to force the tiebreak, the 37-year-old won six of the first seven points in the tiebreak to gain a lead that she would not give up, advancing to the US Open semifinals for the first time since 2010.

USOpen.org

Petra 4th Round Intreview

P. KVITOVA/G. Muguruza 7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You said you were looking forward to the test of playing a top-10 player again. How do you feel about that test, how well you passed?

PETRA KVITOVA: Well, how I can feel, right (smiling)?

I feel great obviously, of course. I was happy that I was managed to win the match. Over the last couple of points, I got a little bit tight. You can just dream about, but when you there, it’s just different. It’s about experience again.

Was great fight. I mean, I struggle a little bit from the beginning. I was little bit probably, you know, rushing from the beginning, so I just need to really try be a little bit more calm, play some rallies.

It wasn’t really nice when I couldn’t serve the set. That was really big game from my side 6-5. Didn’t start well in the tiebreak as well. I was glad I was just trying to stay in the rallies.

Won the first, which I think was kind of the key of the match afterwards.

Q. How do you think your game stacked up well against her tonight to get that win in straight sets?

PETRA KVITOVA: Well, I beat her last time in Beijing, so I little bit knew what to expect. I think I have a good game to beater her. I mean, I’m playing aggressive, as well. I think that my lefty serve is helping, as well, right from left.

I think, you know, I really have to push her the length of the court, and that she doesn’t really have the space to go for the shots as normal as she does probably. That’s probably it was.

I struggle a little bit with the serve. I made some double-faults. But sometimes the serve helped me, as well, a lot. It’s up and down still.

Q. At the French Open you started the first match that you played with a forehand winner. Afterwards you said, I’m surprised by that. How often do you still during a match think, I’m surprised by how well I’m playing?

PETRA KVITOVA: I missed that feeling for couple of months (smiling).

I’m not thinking like that any more. I think maybe it’s a bad sign sometimes, that I should still be more appreciating than I am probably. But sometimes I just really feel that it’s, you know, the touch is there, the strength, the aggressive kind of game plan of it. It’s there, which I’m really, really appreciated for that. Took me while to find it. Luckily I find it in a Grand Slam, which is nice.

Yeah, I wanted to say something real special today, I was working on it, but I didn’t. I think it’s about the mental side as well. I just need to have everything together to click. It’s how it is. I mean, it’s taking some time, some practices, matches and everything.

I’m glad it’s still there.

Q. You talk about how New York is a loud, tough place for you, and Wimbledon is quieter and easier. Now it’s three years in a row that you’ve done better in New York than in Wimbledon.

PETRA KVITOVA: I’m trying to like it more probably then (smiling).

Q. Have you gained a comfort level here, now winning a night match on Ashe. It’s pretty loud. Wouldn’t always be a very comfortable place for you.

PETRA KVITOVA: That’s true. I should change my perspective about it. Maybe that’s why I didn’t ever have any expectation to play well here. That’s why probably I am playing more relaxed and more free maybe. I don’t know.

You know, always putting little bit of pressure in the Wimbledon because of the titles, I do have them. But I’m trying to find, like, a rhythm of the US Open. I’m not going on-site the day off. I’m staying by the Central Park which is pretty relaxed.

I do feel that the courts are little bit faster maybe than the past years or last year. And, you know, I do remember from last year I played a fourth round with Angie on the night session and I lost. I was like, Uh-oh, hopefully will not be the same this time. I didn’t start well, so it was little bit there.

On the other hand I think the crowd was just amazing. When I had a match point or pretty close game, they were just really crazy. Was just unbelievable to play on. So it was just great experience again.

Q. Without Muguruza, it is possible a new winner of a slam, different from Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. What do you think about this?

PETRA KVITOVA: I don’t think anything. I mean, the women’s race is still very, very open. Of course, Garbine was one of the favorites to win the title and be No. 1. I’m sorry I’m not sorry I beat her (smiling). I’m still happy that I’m in the tournament.

But, I mean, anyone from the draw can win the title here, so it’s very open. It’s just nice to watch women’s tennis, I think.

Q. It hasn’t been humid at all this year. How much do you think that’s helped you compared to previous years?

PETRA KVITOVA: I still sweated a lot actually tonight. And I thought would be a little bit cooler because from the morning was pretty rainy and everything. But so far I’m pretty lucky with the weather. I’m not complaining at all. I played some first rounds, then I played later in the day. I think the weather was good for me so far.

Q. Can you look ahead to Venus.

PETRA KVITOVA: I can (smiling).

Q. Good.

PETRA KVITOVA: I watched little bit when she played today with Carla. I think that she really played great. I think that she’s playing amazing on the majors this year. I mean, she is really playing very, very well on the big stages. She played the final of the Wimbledon. She’s a champion. It’s what we all know.

Will be a great match for me to step on the Ashe again probably and play there. I mean, we always had a tough battles. But I will try my best. I mean, she has a big serve, big server of course. She has something special which the other players doesn’t have. That’s what I will try to play again probably, similar game as today.

Q. You said you got a little bit tight towards the end there. Why do you think that was? How did you get yourself to calm down?

PETRA KVITOVA: You know, it was kind of moments when I dream of to come and play again on the big stages against great players on the tour. That was kind of one of the motivation to be back for it.

So probably in my mind was just there, think about it. I’m there and I do have — I’m getting pretty, pretty close to win that match. Probably that’s why.

I didn’t really, you know, play the kind of great players so far in the season when I came back. It was something really special for me. I knew how everything was just so tight and very close, every game what we played in the end of the match. I just knew it would be about the few points. That’s probably how it look in the end. I knew I was a little bit tired, but my serve helped me a lot in the end.

Q. You were saying getting a chance to play a top-10 player, getting through it, you’re going to play obviously Venus next, and we’ve seen through this tournament with Maria when she played Halep that top players, regardless of the ranking, doesn’t matter, when you play against each other, everybody gets up for it. Why do you think that is?

PETRA KVITOVA: We have hormones (laughter). But I see on the men’s side they have it too, a little bit. It’s not about the woman’s only.

You know, it’s funny of course, because you just wake up in the morning. You say, Oh, boy, is terrible day today. I just don’t feel well. On the other hand you wake up, see everything relaxed, just easy.

Sometimes I do feel the favorites of the matches are little bit tight, do feel a little bit pressure on the back as well. The other ones just play more relaxed, just went for it. That’s how it is, I think. We are not robots. Sometimes it’s just how it is. Everyone have ups and downs. Doesn’t matter who is she. Even Simona, she play really great match or whatever.

I don’t know. It’s just probably fun to watch for the fans. I don’t think it’s pretty fun for the top players. But I think it’s very open, as well, that everybody is just getting better and better. I think from top 20 to 30, everybody can play with everyone. That’s how it is.

Q. Do you think there’s a difference, even though you’re not in the top 10, you’re Petra Kvitova, two-time Wimbledon champion, you take on another top player like Muguruza or Venus, do you get up more for it?

PETRA KVITOVA: I do, yeah. I do, especially after everything what happened. I do feel little bit pump, of course. I don’t really have a best ranking, but on the other hand I know I can play well, which I showed today. That’s how it is.

I mean, everybody just need to expect the tough matches every round of the Grand Slam, of course, especially in the second week. I just like to play on the big stages against the great players on the tour, so…

I like those challenges.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

US Open, 4th Rd: Petra tops Muguruza

No.13 seed Petra Kvitova upset No.3 seed Garbiñe Muguruza in a battle of two-time Grand Slam champions on Sunday night, and advances to the US Open quarterfinals.

Petra Kvitova’s 2017 comeback has led her to the second US Open quarterfinal appearance of her career.

The No.13-seeded Czech dispatched reigning Wimbledon champion and No.3 seed Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain, 7-6(3), 6-3, in an awe-inspiring slugfest under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday night.

Both players have struggled at the US Open in the past: this is the only major where Kvitova has never made the semifinals, while Muguruza had never advanced past the second round prior to this year. But both were in imperious form this week, neither having dropped a set en route to this fourth-round encounter.

The two had battled three times before, with Kvitova winning the last two meetings, both in 2016. This was the first match between them in a Grand Slam event, which could have caused one to ignore the head-to-head, but Kvitova claimed her third straight win over Muguruza, rebounding from a break down in the first set.

Muguruza started the match in front, breaking for 3-1 as Kvitova struggled with the Spaniard’s heavy hitting from both sides. Muguruza served well during this stretch, making it through the first games of the match unbothered when she stepped up to the line.

But Kvitova suddenly clicked on her highly praised forehand, and hit screamers off that side to break Muguruza and get back on serve at 4-3. Muguruza’s unforced errors started to rise dramatically, and she faced break points at both 4-4 and 5-5, Kvitova converting in the latter game to serve for the set.

But Kvitova faltered, hitting two errors early in the game and a double fault on break point, which sent the opening frame into a tiebreak. Muguruza took a 2-0 lead due to two Kvitova unforced errors, but the Czech dominated from there, serving well and hitting powerful forehands. Muguruza double-faulted to provide Kvitova with three set points, and she clinched the set with an overhead on her first.

“It wasn’t really nice when I couldn’t serve the set,” admitted Kvitova. “That was really big game from my side 6-5. Didn’t start well in the tiebreak as well. I was glad I was just trying to stay in the rallies.”

US Open, 3rd Rd: Petra races past Garcia

No.13 seed Petra Kvitova has reached the fourth round of a Slam for the first time since her comeback from horrific left hand injuries sustained in a knife attack last December with a dominant 6-0, 6-4 win over No.18 seed Caroline Garcia in just 48 minutes.

The first match between seeds at this year’s US Open saw the Frenchwoman broken in the very first game – despite serving two aces and one unreturned bomb. Garcia would be plagued by a wide variety of unforced errors throughout the opening set: seven off the forehand wing, six from the backhand, and equally balanced between going long, wide, into the net or simply shanked. Though the 23-year-old maintained an aggressive strategy in rallies and on return of serve, it didn’t pay off: the mistakes were balanced by just four winners and she would fail to reach break point in the
whole match.

As for Kvitova, there were flashes of her breathtaking peak form – a running forehand in the third game, a booming backhand down the line in the fourth – but the Czech, who was an efficient three for three on converting her own
break points, needed to strike just five winners to wrap up a 25-minute bagel set.

The action tightened in the second set: Garcia, with a blank slate to start afresh, gathered herself to deliver some solid service games. But her 27-year-old rival had also raised her game, adding a pinpoint running forehand in the first game and a squatting reflex backhand down the line to the highlights reel. Garcia proved unable to keep the errors at bay: having decreased her number to just three in the first six games of the set, the seventh saw her cede a total of five, with a netted forehand resulting in a fourth break of the World No.19’s serve.

From there, Kvitova accelerated towards the finishing line, seizing her opportunities to finish points at the net with alacrity. Garcia did have some resistance in her. Aiming for her third consecutive Slam second week showing, having broken her duck after 20 attempts at Roland Garros in May, the No.18 seed saved two match points on her serve and held with a spectacular forehand pass. Kvitova, though, remained impenetrable on serve, and closed the match out by hammering down her sixth ace of the day.

The two-time Wimbledon champion, in the second week at Flushing Meadows for the fifth time in her career, will face either current Wimbledon holder Garbiñe Muguruza or No.31 seed Magdalena Rybarikova in the fourth round.

Source: WTATennis.com

US Open: Petra rolls into round 3

No.13 seed Petra Kvitova wasted little time in reaching the third round of the US Open, needing just 59 minutes to see off Alizé Cornet 6-1, 6-2.

“I don’t have any expectations here in the US Open or in the American hard court season,” Kvitova said afterwards. “I’m just taking every match one day at a time.

“I’m glad I do have another opportunity to play here, but I’m not setting any goals for myself.”

Kvitova’s typically aggressive start was rewarded with the first break early on, setting the tone for the one-sided affair. The Czech rolled through her service games, losing just two points on her serve in the entire first set – and powering through the last two service games winning both to love. Cornet couldn’t find her timing against Kvitova’s hard and flat style, and didn’t have the answers as she found her serve under siege from the start, holding just once in each set.

After dropping the first set 6-1 and finding herself down 5-1 in the second, Cornet picked a good time to get her first break of the match. She saved a match point and broke the Czech’s powerful serve to extend her stay in the year’s last Grand Slam. But it was short-lived as Kvitova slammed the door shut in the next game with a commanding break to love.

“I think this match is the best that I’ve felt on the hardcourts so far, it was a good match from my side,” Kvitova told WTA Insider after the match.

Source: WTATennis.com

 

 

 

 

 

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US Open, 1st Rd: Petra beats Jankovic

Petra advanced to the US Open second round with a 7-5, 7-5, victory over the former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic on Monday.

Reported by USOpen.org

In the second set, the unseeded Jankovic squandered a 2-0 lead and rallied back to take a 5-3 edge before Kvitova seized the next four games with well-placed shots and crafty angles.

With Monday’s victory, Kvitova avenged the result of the pair’s last meeting, in the third round of Wimbledon in 2015, in which Jankovic won a two-hour, three-set match to prevent Kvitova from defending her 2014 Wimbledon title. On Monday in New York, Kvitova also proved that her left hand can withstand serves over 100 mph to her forehand. This tournament marks the southpaw’s eighth tournament (and third major) after extensive surgery on her left hand following a brutal knife attack at her home on Dec. 20, 2016. (The attack remains under investigation.) For Jankovic, Monday’s first-round loss in her 14th consecutive US Open main draw means that the 28-year-old Serb hasn’t advanced past the round of 16 since her 2008 run to the final, when she lost to Serena Williams in straight sets.

Petra beaten in New Haven opener

On a day featuring a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse it was Zhang Shuai that put together the biggest surprise when she sent the three-time New Haven champion Petra Kvitova crashing out of the Connecticut Open in the first round. Zhang, ranked No.29 in the world, hasn’t played in New Haven since 2013 when she fell in qualifying on her only previous appearance.

But she looked right at home on Yale’s Stadium Court up against the No.3 seed, needing just 67 minutes to seal the 6-2, 6-1 victory and record her second win against a Top 20 player in 2017.

Zhang played solid, high-percentage tennis from start to finish to neutralize the big-hitting Kvitova. She sent her returns deep and with plenty of pace, giving Kvitova trouble and earning a break early in the first set for a for 4-1 lead. Kvitova kept Zhang under pressure with her heavy groundstrokes – getting a point away from breaking back – but the Chinese player stayed solid, chipping away at the three-time champion’s defenses.

Two double faults from Kvitova give Zhang three set-points; the Czech put up monumental effort to attack at the net and get two of them back but a backhand drifted long to hand Zhang the opening set.

Despite the lopsided scoreline in the second, Kvitova kept the games close but found her efforts undone by her unforced errors. She racked up 31 in total to 14 winners, unsustainable margins against Zhang’s solid 14 winners and 17 unforced errors. The Chinese player broke twice more to seal the match after 67 minutes on court.