Cincinnati, R32: Petra beaten by Stephens

For the second time in as many weeks, Sloane Stephens came out on top over No.14 seed Petra Kvitova to move into the round of 16 at the Western & Southern Open.

Stephens – a former World No.11, who missed nearly a year of action due to a foot injury before returning at Wimbledon – faced Kvitova last week in Toronto on her way to the semifinals, scoring a statement three-set victory to mark the best match of her comeback to date.

On Wednesday in Cincinnati, Stephens backed it up with another victory against Kvitova, needing just 70 minutes to win 6-2, 6-3 and make her way into the round of 16.

Stephens stayed solid against Kvitova from start to finish, allowing the big-hitting Czech a paltry four winners in the first set and three in the second. They finished the match tied at seven winners each, but Kvitova’s 33 unforced errors far outpaced Stephens’ 10.

The American was firmly in control for a set and a half, breaking twice in the first set and twice in the second to build up a 6-2, 4-0 lead.

But Kvitova – who’d been struggling with pain in her right thigh throughout the match – began to mount a comeback. She reeled off three games in a row and had points to make it a fourth when Stephens stopped her charge. The American quickly got back on track, holding serve then breaking Kvitova to make her way into the round of 16.

Rogers Cup, R32: Petra falls to Stephens

In the best win of her comeback so far, American Sloane Stephens survived a tense battle against No.14 seed Petra Kvitova in the second round of the Rogers Cup, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-2.

Though Stephens broke the Kvitova serve in the first game of the match, the Czech got back on serve in the sixth game, and forced the American to serve to stay in the set twice in the later stages.

Neither player was able to generate a break point over the last six games of the opener, but it was Stephens who twice led by a minibreak in the tiebreak, as some untimely unforced errors came off the Kvitova racquet.

The Czech forced Stephens to serve out the tiebreak, which the American did with aplomb, as she held the final two points of the tiebreak to take a one-set lead in their first WTA meeting.

Kvitova pounced on early momentum to begin the second set, as she won three of the first four games and looked to force a decider.

Though Stephens quickly pulled even in the second set by claiming the next two games, the two-time Wimbledon champion showed her mettle to force a final set, as she pocketed the final three games in decisive fashion.

Kvitova largely turned the match around in the middle stages on serve, as she raised her first serve percentage from 43% in the opener to 71% in the middle set.

She also proved more effective in returning the Stephens serve in the second set, as she won more than half the points on return in set two, up from 33% in the opener.

Kvitova pounced on early momentum to begin the second set, as she won three of the first four games and looked to force a decider.

Though Stephens quickly pulled even in the second set by claiming the next two games, the two-time Wimbledon champion showed her mettle to force a final set, as she pocketed the final three games in decisive fashion.

Kvitova largely turned the match around in the middle stages on serve, as she raised her first serve percentage from 43% in the opener to 71% in the middle set.

She also proved more effective in returning the Stephens serve in the second set, as she won more than half the points on return in set two, up from 33% in the opener.



Rogers Cup, R64: Petra passes Suárez Navarro test

No.14 seed Petra Kvitova overcame a tough opening test against Carla Suárez Navarro in her first match at the Rogers Cup, needing a second-set tiebreak to advance to the second round. After easing through a one-sided opening set, the 2012 champion came back from 1-4 down in the second to move on 6-1, 7-6(5).

“I feel pretty solid right now,” Kvitova said in her on-court interview. “It was a great match in the second set, I really had to fight.”

Kvitova and Suárez Navarro came into their 11th matchup locked at 5-5 in their previous head to head record, with Suárez Navarro looking to make it five in a row as the Czech’s last victory happened over four years ago.

Kvitova got off to a great start, stepping in and winning most points inside the court to keep the Spaniard under constant pressure. Suárez Navarro was almost completely shut out the match in the opening set, with Kvitova blasting 15 winners past her and Suárez Navarro only recording two in the whole set. The Spaniard – who had come back from a set down to defeat Kvitova in two of their previous four matches – didn’t seem phased after dropping the first set so one-sidedly. She dug in and completely turned around the match, starting with an early break to get ahead 4-1.

But the 2012 champion dashed Suárez Navarro’s advantage a few games later, roaring back to level the score at 4-4. The pair continued their tug of war as the rest of the games went the way of the server, sending them into a tiebreak. Just a handful of points made the difference as Kvitova came back from a minibreak down to see off the determined Spaniard, halting Suárez Navarro’s comeback efforts after an hour and 34 minutes.

“It was just one break down,” Kvitova explained her second-set comeback. “Every game we played in the second set was very close. I just tried to count the points and not really see the score. “Then I found out I was back on my serve, and I just tried to stay on my serve and try to win the tiebreaker and wait for some of my chances.”

With the victory, Kvitova will take on the winner between Yulia Putintseva and Sloane Stephens in the next round.


Stanford: Bellis downs Petra

No.8 seed CiCi Bellis scored a statement win over two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, needing just over one hour to book her spot into the Bank of the West Classic semifinals.

The 18-year-old American bossed the match from start to finish, playing fearless tennis against her opponent and dropping just two games to win 6-2, 6-0 and reach her first ever WTA Premier-level semifinal.

Bellis revelled in the support from her home crowd and showed her quality from the very first game; Kvitova, who didn’t face a single break point in her opening match, found herself broken to love to start their quarterfinal.

When the No.2 seeded Czech broke straight back, Bellis responded in kind, setting the tone for the next few games. The American got out on top after five straight breaks of serve for a 4-2 lead, calmly reeling off the next two games to take the opening set.

From there it was one-way traffic from the Stanford local as Kvitova continued to struggle with rhythm, misfiring errors on routine shots – especially at the net – racking up 26 unforced errors to Bellis’ nine, and striking 12 winners against Bellis’ nine.  The American fired off winners off both wings and, after an hour and two minutes, completed the commanding victory over Kvitova.



Wimbledon: Petra comeback ended by Brengle

The No.11 seed, a pre-tournament favourite having swept to the title in Birmingham, faded in the latter stages of a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 defeat to the world No.95. It was only the Czech’s third tournament since returning from a hand injury suffered in a knife attack at her home in December last year.

After levelling the match, Kvitova was visibly struggling, eventually calling for the trainer, who checked her blood pressure with the score at 2-5. It mattered little as Brengle served out the match to set up a third round showdown with the French No.21 seed Caroline Garcia, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Romanian Ana Bogdan.

“My body just didn’t really do the best, unfortunately,” Kvitova said. “But I was really trying. I fight, and I’m not sure what happened, actually. I could not just breathe, and I was feeling a bit sick, as well.

“Unfortunately, it happened at Wimbledon, which is not nice. But she still played what she could. I mean, she hit everything back. It was just tough for me to still have the energy to put it back and play my aggressive game.”

This was Kvitova’s third loss in four career meetings with the 27-year-old Brengle, whose victory opens up the draw for the No.6 seed, Johanna Konta, who was due to meet Kvitova in the fourth round. For the Czech, it is back to the hand specialist before a return to cracking balls on the practice court after what has been an extraordinary comeback so soon after her ordeal.

“No one knows how hard I had to work to be back, so probably that feels more disappointing than normally it is,” Kvitova admitted.

“But it’s been great to be here again. I mean, it was my goal to play this event this year, and that’s what I did. So probably, deep in myself, I feel very grateful to have this option to play, but on the other hand, I feel sad that I have to leave so early.”

The result is negligible in the scheme of things. A return to doing what she loves most has been a triumph in itself.

By Dan Imhoff (

Wimbledon: First Round Interview

Petra Kvitova talks to the media after the 6-3, 6-4 win against Johanna Larsson

Q. You seem to be putting on cream every changeover. Is that a healing thing for the injury or is it just something you do normally anyway to get a better grip? Secondly, how important was it for you to have your surgeon in your player’s box today?

PETRA KVITOVA: The cream, when you have sweat hands, it’s just drying your hands. That’s just the point of it. I’m sweating a lot, so that’s why I’m using it. Especially with the scars on my hand, I think it’s helping me to keep the racquet stronger than before. But I was using it before, as well.

Yeah, it was very nice that he sat in the box for my match. It was a special one. I’m really glad that he took the invitation. He came with his wife to support me here.

Q. You said after your layoff, the first time you picked up a racquet you started thinking about Wimbledon. What was the experience today your first time back?

PETRA KVITOVA: It was very special, I have to say. When we came on the court, I know British crowd, but today I feel a little bit different. I mean, they scream a little bit more than they normally do. It was very special for me to feel the energy from the crowd again. It was through the match all the time.

So it was beautiful to be back on the court playing my game, on the beautiful Centre Court, of course. I couldn’t wish more.

Q. What about fist pumps during this comeback? It’s been difficult for you to do it with both hands. Where are you in that?

PETRA KVITOVA: I don’t care where I am. I’m here.

I couldn’t still do by my left, but that’s okay. I’m using it sometimes. But then I realize every time that I couldn’t do it. It’s weird. But, I mean, I can get used to this. I doesn’t really have a troubles with it.

Q. With the first service game, did you find yourself nervous?

PETRA KVITOVA: I did, yes. I mean, in the warmup I felt okay. I didn’t really expect this start of the match unfortunately, the three double-faults. That’s how it is sometimes. I just glad that I was able to came back in the first set, and to break her afterwards. It was a good point that I won my second service game. It was very important for me.

Q. This morning and going into the match, what were the butterflies like? What were the nerves like? Did it feel different, different type of nerves and butterflies than a typical first round at Wimbledon?

PETRA KVITOVA: Yes, it was different. It was more about the passion probably than about the nerves that I don’t really know what will be on the Centre Court. It feels different from the time I came back actually.

I feel that my body is not as tired and not as nervous as before, so that’s a good sign. I hope it will stay with me forever until my career finish.

It’s a good point, I think, that I know it’s just a match. Of course, the first rounds are always difficult. So the nerves are there. But not that much as before.

Q. Venus was in here earlier and was quite upset talking about the incident she’s had to deal with. I know it’s a completely different situation, but dealing with something traumatic like that, then having to focus on tennis, how do people in professional sport do that? Would you have any suggestion as to how you could focus like that?

PETRA KVITOVA: Yeah, I think it’s difficult, especially in her position. I mean, every traumatic situation is always tough. I feel like for womans it’s more difficult because we are more sensitive and more emotional than you guys. So I feel like it’s not easy.

I mean, you still want to be focus on each point what you are playing, but same times you just get upset with something else. It’s just difficult to switch for the tennis again.

I know that she doesn’t really have a good time right now, but I wish her all the best.

Q. What are your expectations from this point on? You’re a bookmaker’s favorite.

PETRA KVITOVA: My expectation is to stand up on Wednesday in the match and just play what I can. I don’t see myself really too ahead. I’m just here to play every single match what I can. I’m not really thinking that I’m the favorite of the tournament. I’m still underground. Just play what I can.

Q. You finished the season last year very well, making all the finals, winning Wuhan, Zhuhai. Obviously in the five and a half months, you came back, played very well, winning Birmingham. Can you connect the form from the end of last year, did that have in I impact on what you’re doing the last few weeks, or is it completely different because of the five and a half months?

PETRA KVITOVA: I think it’s connecting actually. I feel that the end of the season stayed in my mind. Then when I started to hit few balls, I was still over there. So for me the time when I didn’t really hit well, it was a difficult time for me to know that I needed time and to get there. So I was still thinking as I’m in Zhuhai. It was really difficult.

But then when I could play finally, I think the mind just stay there. Then when I play the matches, I think that help me as well, that I did finish the last season very well.

Source: | 4.07.2017

Wimbledon Draws Released

Two-time Wilmbledon champion Petra will meet Johanna Larsson of Sweden (WTA #52) in the opening round of the third Grand Slam event of the season. The most prestigious tennis tournament in the world is taking place in London from July 3-16.

Petra could meet no.21 seed Caroline Garcia (FRA) in round three.

Last year she lost to Ekaterina Makarova in the second round 5-7, 6-7(5).

Petra conquers Barty to kick off comeback with Birmingham title

In just her second tournament since injuring her left hand during a home invasion, Petra Kvitova roared back from a set down to defeat Ashleigh Barty, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win her first title of the year at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.

“I’m very, very happy, of course,” she said in her post-match press conference. “I didn’t expect this in my second tournament of my comeback. So yeah, I think it’s kind of a fairytale.”

Attacked in her home during the off-season, Kvitova made a triumphant comeback earlier than expected at Roland Garros, where she won her first match since finishing the 2016 season with the Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai title.

“I was nervous It wasn’t the normal nerves as I had before. It’s my first final after such a long time, and it was a bit difficult to handle. I struggled a lot. It’s nice when you win and you’re playing well, but most of the times the best days are when you win even if you are not playing well. So I’m happy that I was able to win it anyway.”

“Maybe it will sound weird, but I think it was nice to lose the first set, that I had to fight for the second and for the third. I think will give me some extra confidence that I am still able to fight, even if I lose the first set. I know I can still win long matches, so I think that’s important, as well.”

“I’ve been through a very difficult time in my life, and it wasn’t about the tennis, but about being able to come back healthy and alive, moving my fingers properly and everything like that. This is something clearly special. It’s some bonus to have my life and my career and everything.

“This is what I fought so hard to come back and play tennis for. I always said that I’m not here just to play tennis; I’m here to play my best and to win trophies, like today. So I have to say I’m kind of proud of myself that I did it today.”

Petra moves into Birmingham final

No.7 seed Petra Kvitova moved into the final at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham for the first time in her career on Saturday, as compatriot Lucie Safarova was forced to retire with a lingering right leg injury in the semifinals with Kvitova leading 6-1, 1-0.

In just her second tournament back following a hand injury suffered in a home invasion in December, Kvitova returns to a WTA final for the first time since winning the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in November.

“I was just thinking about my game, and yeah, I’m sorry for her that she’s unhealthy, but I hope she will be better soon,” Kvitova said. “I think she had a great run here for sure. I’m happy that I’m in the final, but the way I am going is a bit weird. The hand is good, which is the best news which I can have, and I am not feeling any pain, and that’s the best news.”

“I couldn’t have imagined to have a better comeback than I am having now. You know, Paris was a bit weird and strange, and I couldn’t play the best over there. I am happy that I am able to show good tennis here. I played four matches already, so it’s a good record and good preparation for the final. I think that my game should be same as every other day, to play fast and aggressive and to show my serve again, and I hope it will help me again.”


Petra quells Mladenovic surge in Birmingham

The Petra Kvitova Comeback Train is picking up speed at the Aegon Classic. Playing just her second tournament of 2017, the Czech star outpaced Kristina Mladenovic, 6-4, 7-6(5) to reach the final four in Birmingham.

“It was close,” she said during her on-court interview. “The second set was very close. I’m happy how I managed to win it, but it was really tight. Kristina played better than the start and that made it difficult to hold serve and play well.”

Kvitova and Mladenovic exchanged breaks to start, and the two-time Wimbledon winner took control from there, dropping just three points behind her first serve to clinch the opening set.

“Both of us play really fast on this surface. The grass suits her game as well, so it was about a few points here in there, one or two key breaks in the match.”

In control of the second, Kvitova had the No.5 seed on the ropes when Mladenovic turned things up a notch to break back and get within a game of a decider.

“I didn’t feel nervous, but maybe my body was a bit tired.” Kvitova said in her post-match press conference. “But I felt like the wind came stronger and I couldn’t hold my serve and I wasn’t able to really hit it perfectly as before. I made two double faults, and it’s difficult to play on grass when you have that in the mind. So I was glad that I was able to make it for 6-6, and then in the tiebreak you have to really play every point and just wait how everything is going, which a little lucky in the end. So yeah, it was on my side.”

Kvitova held on to force a tiebreak, clinching victory off a letcord return winner after one hour and 43 minutes on court.

“It was a mix of emotion because the match point was lucky. So I was happy, but on the other side I was like, I’m sorry. Like overall I’m happy that I won, for sure. I mean Kiki has great runs this year. She’s very highly ranked. For me it’s the second tournament of my comeback it’s a good match playing on the grass. So overall I’m very happy with my performance.”

In all, it was an aggressive display from both players, but Kvitova got the upper hand with nine aces and 27 winners to 28 unforced errors – against 13 winners and 21 errors from Mladenovic.