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.

 

WTATennis.com

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.

WTATennis.com

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.

 

WTATennis.com

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.

WTATour.com

 

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.

WTATennis.com // 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.

FedCup.com

Czechs charge to a 2-0 lead in Stuttgart

A pair of outstanding performances by Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova have given Czech Republic a commanding 2-0 lead over Germany in their Fed Cup by BNP Paribas semifinal in Stuttgart.

Both Kvitova and Pliskova played top-flight tennis, not dropping a set in four total played against Julia Goerges and Angelique Kerber, respectively.

Kvitova won 63 62 while Pliskova was triumphant 75 63. It was a first win for Pliskova over the two-time major winner in four outings, dating back to summer 2016.

“No one expected this,” Pliskova said on court after her win.

No one, indeed. “We will have to gather tonight,” captain Jens Gerlach says about the German squad who will now have to dig itself out of a 0-2 hole on Sunday. And history is against them: The Czech team has a 7-1 head-to-head lead against the Germans.

Czech Republic is looking for its first title since 2016, having won five out of the last seven Fed Cup championships. Germany has not won since 1992.

On Sunday, the rubbers will flip, with Pliskova taking on Goerges and then Kvitova meeting Kerber. Should the Germans force a deciding fifth match, it is scheduled to be Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Tatjana Maria for Germany against Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Strycova, barring substitutions.

FedCup.com

Pliskova overcomes No.2 seed Petra in Charleston

Unseeded Kristyna Pliskova came back from dropping a one-sided first set to stun No.2 seed Petra Kvitova at the Volvo Car Open. Pliskova needed just under two hours to prevail in the all-lefty, all-Czech battle, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Pliskova struggled to hold her serve in the opening set – although she was able to break Kvitova in the opening exchanges, Pliskova didn’t win a single service game as Kvitova powered ahead to four breaks of serve, reeling off five games in a row in the lopsided 6-1 set.

She raised her level considerably in the second set as Kvitova seemed to slump, flipping the script around and reeling off four straight games of her own. Pliskova got ahead to a 2-0 lead in the third set as well, backing it up to break again at 5-1. She needed seven match points to get the job done as Kvitova put together a late comeback – even getting one of the breaks back – but she held firm to take the victory after an hour and 51 minutes.

Kvitova’s unforced error count grew exponentially as the match went on, with the majority of her 44 errors – including nine double faults – coming in the last two sets alone. For her part, Pliskova stayed on the offense, striking

24 winners and 32 unforced errors.

Source: WTATennis.com

Ostapenko outlasts Petra in Miami

No.5 seed Jelena Ostapenko braved the elements and lateness of the hour – not to mention the fearsome play of No.9 seed Petra Kvitova – to win, 7-6(4), 6-3, and reach her first quarterfinal at the Miami Open.

“It’s not easy,” Ostapenko told Andrew Krasny during her on-court interview. “It’s 1AM, we’re still on court finishing the match. Of course, I was fighting hard for this match because when we went off court, I was losing. I just said, ‘OK, I’m going to try my best because I know Petra is a great player and I have to play on a very high level.’ But I’m very glad with how I finished the match.”

The last match of the night had barely begun when raindrops kept Ostapenko and Kvitova from commencing the coin toss. Once things got underway, the reigning French Open champion took the upper hand, earning a 4-1 lead and later holding a set point before the two-time Wimbledon champion turned the tables to lead by a mini-break in the ensuing tie-break.

“She was hitting very hard from the beginning,” she later explained to WTA Insider. “The first set started good from my side, but she was playing very aggressively and very deep, so for me, it was hard to hit winners off those balls. I was just trying to manage somehow.”

Mother Nature intervened once more, sending the players off court until just after midnight when Ostapenko won five of the final six points of the sudden death to sneak off with the opening set.

Kvitova had dropped just two games to Ostapenko at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy back in February, but the tricky conditions combined with the Latvian’s fearless play ultimately unwound the former World No.2, who surrendered a double fault to bring up match point that Ostapenko converted to take the match in ostensibly one hour and 43 minutes.

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America

 

 

Petra conquers Kenin under the lights in Miami

No.9 seed Petra Kvitova found herself on the brink of defeat against American Sofia Kenin, but the two-time Wimbledon winner found a way to defeat the 19-year-old, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, to reach the Round of 16 at the Miami Open for the first time since 2014.

“I have no idea how I won,” Kvitova said during her on-court interview. “It was a really difficult match, mentally, for me to play a young player I didn’t know. It’s always a bit tough because those opponents play so well against me. I remember me when I was younger, how I played without fear and with nothing to lose. They play so aggressively, which she did today; she didn’t really miss anything!

“I just tried to play more rallies and get into a rhythm.”

 

Kenin made her major breakthrough last summer at the US Open – where she reached the third round as a wildcard – and appeared to use that experience of playing Maria Sharapova under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium at the start of her clash with Kvitova.

“She’s a great mover. She can catch a lot of balls and put them back into the court. She serves well; she’s not so tall, but she puts a good percentage of first serves in. I had to play a lot of rallies, and it was difficult to go to net because she reads the game so well.”

 

After a slow start, Kvitova navigated through a tricky middle set that featured five consecutive service breaks, and rallied from 2-4 down in the decider to make it over the finish line after exactly two hours on Stadium Court.

She struck 35 winners to Kenin’s 15, and converted eight of 14 break point opportunities while hitting a whopping 14 aces to eight double faults.

“In the second set, I tried to serve a bit better, have a better percentage of first serves, and try not to be so hectic and try to play into the court. That’s not always easy for me, but that helped me today.”

 

Up next for Kvitova is No.5 seed Jelena Ostapenko in what will be a rematch of their St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy quarterfinal, which Kvitova won in straight sets.

Courtesy of WTATennis.com / photo: Getty Images