No.8 seed Petra Kvitova became the first player through to the semifinals at the Western & Southern Open thanks to a protracted 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 win over No.15 seed Elise Mertens in Friday’s quarterfinal.
“Luckily I did have good second serves, which was very important for me to put it back to the court and play some rallies,” Kvitova told the press, after her win. “I really need to play more aggressive. That’s how I made those important points.”
The two-time Wimbledon champion advances to a semifinal on U.S. soil for the first time in nearly two years, having last done so at the Connecticut Open in 2016, and is back in the last four in Cincinnati for the first time since 2012.
Until this year’s run, Kvitova had failed to win back-to-back matches on any other visit to the Lindner Family Tennis Center, having reached the round of 16 after first round byes in 2011 and 2013.
The World No.6 held off a spirited charge from the Belgian in the opening set, but dropped a topsy-turvy second set and needed to come back from a break down in the final set to complete a victory in the pair’s first-ever meeting after a grueling two hours and 42 minutes of play.
“Definitely she’s a tough opponent,” Kvitova said, regarding Mertens. “And when I gave her time and I didn’t really play that aggressive, she was just going for that. I was the second player on the court, which I didn’t want.”
No.8 seed Petra Kvitova booked her spot in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open with a tough three-set victory over Belgian Elise Mertens.
The high-risk affair was marked by a large amount of winners and unforced errors, but Kvitova moved through with 43 winners to Mertens’ 19, and the Czech won two-thirds of points on Mertens’ second service.
Kvitova moves on to play Kiki Bertens in the semifinals, after Bertens upset Elina Svitolina later on Friday.
“She improved a lot,” Kvitova said of Bertens. “Overall, she’s serving big, and of course when we are serving better, then we are making a little bit easier points and it’s just tough to break.”