RG: Petra sprints past Arruabarrena in Paris

After getting off to a slow start in her opening round, No.8 seed Petra Kvitova had no such troubles at the French Open on Wednesday, dispatching Lara Arruabarrena in straight sets, 6-0, 6-4.

The two-time Wimbledon champion needed to come from a set down to see off Veronica Cepede Royg in first round action on Monday, but had fewer issues en route to booking her spot in the round of 32.

The Czech set the tone with a break in the opening game of the match, hitting 14 winners to just four unforced errors over the first six games to cruise to a bagel in just over 20 minutes, but the World No.91 put up stronger resistance in the second set.

Though the Spaniard got on the board and stayed even with the World No.8 over the first four games, she was unable to come back from a 0-40 hole in the fifth game on serve, and surrendered parity on the third break point she faced.

However, a strong game for Arruabarrena on return helped generate her first break point of the match. The 26-year-old had won just eighth points in the Czech’s previous five service games, but pulled herself back even and ahead once more on serve.

Kvitova raised her level when needed from there, powering through an eighth game where Arruabarren pegged her back to deuce from 40-0 on serve, and won 10 of the last 12 points of the match to safely advance.

Up next for the No.8 seed will be a third round clash with either No.25 seed Anett Kontaveit, or Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru.



RG: Petra survives Cepede Royg for 2nd round spot

No.8 seed Petra Kvitova was pushed the distance in her opener on day two of the French Open,  but ultimately the two-time Wimbledon champion battled past Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg into the second round, 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Kvitova overcame 17 unforced errors over the first nine games, cleaning up her tennis to see off a determined foe in Cepede Royg, who reached the fourth round in Paris a year ago.

The Czech finished the match with 30 winners to 35 unforced errors, breaking the World No.87 twice in the second and at a crucial moment at 5-5 in the third to move through to the round of 64 in two hours and seven minutes.

The victory is Kvitova’s 12th straight on clay this summer, after she arrived in Paris as the champion on home soil in Prague and at the Premier Mandatory event in Madrid.

“The important points, that’s really deciding who gonna win the match, and I was lucky today,” Kvitova said after the match.

“I think it was very physically tough today. She really hit almost everything. I’m not surprised she reached the fourth round last year here.

She really likes the conditions here and played very well. She didn’t really miss much, as well, so it was pretty tough.”


The two-time Wimbledon champion was a semifinalist in Paris in 2012, but has not come close to repeating that result in recent seasons.

This year, she entered Roland Garros with a tour-leading four titles and 30 wins, but the Czech No.2 is treating every win she gets on Paris’ terre battue as a “bonus.”

“I did have great matches on the clay which I’m taking very positive. I think for me this clay season it’s great, and I’m just here to have some maybe more bonuses, which I already did today,” she said.



Madrid, Final: Interview with Petra

Petra Kvitova – Press Conference

P. KVITOVA/K. Bertens 7-6, 4-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: First question for our champion.

Q. Where did you find the energy in the third set? From outside you looked completely exhausted. What was the mental talk you were having with yourself?

PETRA KVITOVA: I have no idea. Well, obviously it was the final, so everything what I had in my body, I just tried to put it out, even if it was very, very tough today. She played great tennis. I mean, it was a big fight. That’s the final, so…

We both should be very proud of this beautiful final we played today. Unfortunately, there have to be loser and winner.

But, yeah, I’m not really sure where I find it. I was really trying eat banana, whatever I had, but… I think in the third set, obviously every point was very, very important. I was really thinking that I can’t do it any more. But then when you step on the shot again, you are just trying to hit the return, you play the rally, the serves, whatever.

It was pretty difficult for me to have a break in the third set and loss to my serve. Mentally it was very difficult because I know how tough it is to break her. Luckily the chance came for the second time, so it was much better.

The last game of serve was a great one, probably the most best one what I have. So I was very pleased with that.


Q. How does it feel to be a three-time champion here? It must feel really sweet.

It feels sweet and weird as well. I didn’t really expect that, even the same time last year. Even coming from the Prague last week, I didn’t think I could be in the final, winning the trophy back-to-back. My body is very exhausted, as well, so… I’m pretty surprised that the body just handle it somehow.

Well, every title feels great. Winning three times here in Madrid, it means something. It’s not really happening every day, so I’m very proud of myself.


Q. You didn’t have any time to think about the Prague win, came straight here. Obviously you have Rome coming up next. How do you pick yourself up, if you pick yourself up and go again?

Next question, please (laughter).


Q. That answers the question.

Well, as I said, I’m pretty exhausted. I need to pull out from Rome. Was quick, right? You made me sweat a little bit (smiling).


Q. With Kiki, one of the biggest stages she’s played in. Could you break down her game a little bit in terms of what makes her so good on this surface, difficult opponent in today’s final.

First of all, it’s great to see her playing so well. She’s a great person. I really like her. It’s nice to see her playing like that.

Well, last time played on the grass was a little bit different. She improved a lot. She loves to play on clay. She won Charleston. I remember when she’s playing Roland Garros, always playing great.

Obviously she has a forehand with a lot of topspin, which is the opponent putting so much behind the baseline. It’s pretty difficult to make some pressure to her. She can do whatever she wants. From the forehand she can really move the players so well. She has great hands, as well. She can do a lot of slices, drop shots. She has great volleys, everything. I think when she’s really on the net, she always win the point.

She can’t really miss, which is pretty difficult playing on the clay. I know those matches on the clay are really painful. That’s what I think she’s doing. She’s finding her serve, as well, in the good moments. Speed-wise she has great serve, with the kick on the second.

Yeah, I mean, she’s moving really well. When she’s sliding to those shots, she’s always putting the ball back, and I a meter behind the baseline. It’s difficult to do anything from those balls.


Q. With this title, you’re also earning a spot on the list of the favorites for Roland Garros.

PETRA KVITOVA: (Rolling her eyes).


Q. Do you think you can win the French Open or that sounds completely crazy?

It’s crazy (smiling). You know, I think I’ve been in semifinal one year. Probably I can play well there. But on the other hand I know how tough it is. Winning Prague and here, it made me very happy. On the other hand, a Grand Slam is a different story. It’s different attitude, different balls, whatever.

For me, I’m going there trying to play better than the last time. I don’t know, I don’t want to put any pressure on me in a way. I think there are maybe better players playing on the clay. We’ll see what happen over there.


Q. You’re like 20 out of 24 in your last finals. I think you’ve only lost four of your last 24 finals.

 I lost seven, I think.


Q. Just the last 25.

Okay. That sounds better (smiling).


Q. What is it that unlocks in finals for you? Is there a sixth sense kicking in? A trophy, I kind of want that?

Well, I was always saying that I love to play those finals because of the trophy. That’s what we are fighting all week, for the trophy. It’s always pretty close, but pretty far as well.

You meet the best players in the final, so it’s always putting lots of — what I wanted to say, I don’t know – lots of effort to win. My last three finals I played for three sets, which it’s pretty tiring as well.

I don’t know. It probably was the same like today, or playing Muguruza in Doha, Buzarnescu in Prague. It’s always a big fight, which is nice, but on the other hand probably I loved it, right?

I don’t know. I just always wanted to put the best, saving probably for the final. That’s why I love to play tennis, so… It’s extra motivation.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Petra claims record third Madrid crown

No.10 seed Petra Kvitova became the first ever three-time champion in Mutua Madrid Open history after a marathon battle against clay specialist Kiki Bertens.

A far cry from their one-sided previous encounter in 2015 – which saw Kvitova trounce Bertens in just 36 minutes on grass at Wimbledon – Kvitova needed a grueling two hours and 53 minutes to defeat the Dutch player, 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3.

The victory puts Kvitova at a tour-leading four WTA titles in 2018 – she’s lifted trophies in St. Petersburg, Doha and Prague – and marks her best-ever start to a season in her career. Kvitova claimed her 30th win of the season; the earliest she has ever reached this milestone before was at 2011 Roland Garros.

For Bertens, the defeat will have a silver lining come Monday, though, when she’s guaranteed to rise to a career-high World No.15 on the WTA Rankings.

Kvitova will rise from No.10 to No.8.


WTAtennis.com // Photo: Getty Images

Petra into Madrid final

Two-time Mutua Madrid Open champion and No.10 seed Petra Kvitova is back in the final in the Spanish capital for the third time, after a 7-6(4), 6-3 victory over 6th-seeded compatriot Karolina Pliskova in a bruising semifinal on Friday night.

Kvitova picked up her tenth straight match win on the WTA with the victory over Pliskova, having won the J&T Banka Prague Open in her home country the week prior to Madrid. The Czechs had not faced off in over three years — since the final of Sydney in 2015 — but Kvitova was still able to defeat Pliskova for the third time in three meetings.

Both players acquitted themselves well in the hard-hitting affair, with Kvitova blasting 32 winners to 31 unforced errors, while Pliskova had 21 of each. But Kvitova was slightly more effective winning points on her service, claiming 60 percent of those instances, to only 52 percent for Pliskova.

The 2011 and 2015 Madrid titlist moves into Saturday’s final, where she will face Dutch clay-court maven Kiki Bertens, who dispatched No.7 seed Caroline Garcia of France in the earlier semifinal, 6-2, 6-2. Bertens, who won the Volvo Car Open in Charleston earlier this season for the biggest title of her career, is now into her first Premier Mandatory final.


WTATennis.com // Photo: Denis Doyle, Getty Images Europe

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 WTATennis.com // 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.