US Open, 4th Rd: Petra tops Muguruza

Great fight. I mean, I struggle a little bit from the beginning. I was little bit probably, you know, rushing from the beginning, so I just need to really try be a little bit more calm, play some rallies...Won the first, which I think was kind of the key of the match.

No.13 seed Petra Kvitova upset No.3 seed Garbiñe Muguruza in a battle of two-time Grand Slam champions on Sunday night, and advances to the US Open quarterfinals.

Petra Kvitova’s 2017 comeback has led her to the second US Open quarterfinal appearance of her career.

The No.13-seeded Czech dispatched reigning Wimbledon champion and No.3 seed Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain, 7-6(3), 6-3, in an awe-inspiring slugfest under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday night.

Both players have struggled at the US Open in the past: this is the only major where Kvitova has never made the semifinals, while Muguruza had never advanced past the second round prior to this year. But both were in imperious form this week, neither having dropped a set en route to this fourth-round encounter.

The two had battled three times before, with Kvitova winning the last two meetings, both in 2016. This was the first match between them in a Grand Slam event, which could have caused one to ignore the head-to-head, but Kvitova claimed her third straight win over Muguruza, rebounding from a break down in the first set.

Muguruza started the match in front, breaking for 3-1 as Kvitova struggled with the Spaniard’s heavy hitting from both sides. Muguruza served well during this stretch, making it through the first games of the match unbothered when she stepped up to the line.

But Kvitova suddenly clicked on her highly praised forehand, and hit screamers off that side to break Muguruza and get back on serve at 4-3. Muguruza’s unforced errors started to rise dramatically, and she faced break points at both 4-4 and 5-5, Kvitova converting in the latter game to serve for the set.

But Kvitova faltered, hitting two errors early in the game and a double fault on break point, which sent the opening frame into a tiebreak. Muguruza took a 2-0 lead due to two Kvitova unforced errors, but the Czech dominated from there, serving well and hitting powerful forehands. Muguruza double-faulted to provide Kvitova with three set points, and she clinched the set with an overhead on her first.

“It wasn’t really nice when I couldn’t serve the set,” admitted Kvitova. “That was really big game from my side 6-5. Didn’t start well in the tiebreak as well. I was glad I was just trying to stay in the rallies.”