Three-time Mutua Madrid Open champion Petra Kvitova won an eighth straight match at the Caja Magica, ousting 2017 runner-up Kristina Mladenovic, 6-3, 7-6(5) to reach the third round.
The defending champion navigated a tricky second set from the big-hitting Frenchwoman to clinch a tense tie-break after one hour and 55 minutes on Court Manolo Santana.
Breaking serve to start the match, the No.2 seed didn’t have things all her own way on Monday as Mladenovic promptly broke back and forced two break points on the Czech’s serve in hopes of taking the lead.
Kvitova dug deep to save both and ultimately captured the opening set with one more break of serve, serving it out with 11 winners to Mladenovic’s four.
The second set followed a similar pattern as Kvitova broke first only for Mladenovic to catch up and play her higher-ranked opponent tough as she tried to force a deciding set, coming within two points of doing so at 5-4 and 6-5.
Battling through the ensuing tie-break, Kvitova captured the final three points – smacking a blistering return at the Frenchwoman’s feet – to secure her spot in the Round of 16, where either Romanian wildcard Sorana Cirstea or former World No.4 Caroline Garcia await.
WTATennis.com / photos: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography