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.