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.”