Kvitova progresses after Bouzkova’s withdrawal

Antonio Arenas Sin categoría

A dramatic fall in the third game of the second set brought Marie Bouzkova’s campaign
to an abrupt end during her clash with Petra Kvitova in the Manolo Santana Stadium.
The three-time Mutua Madrid Open champion progressed to the second round on
Thursday after her opponent’s retirement from the match (6-2, 2-3 Wd.).

On the evidence of their previous match, when Bouzkova produced a comeback last
year in Cincinnati, the encounter between the two Czech players on the opening day of
the WTA 1000 was an enticing prospect. But only three games after receiving medical
treatment on her right thumb, the player from Prague decided she was unable to
continue.

It was a carbon copy of the match in the US tournament, with Kvitova taking the first
set 6-2 after 42 minutes. The aggressiveness of the ninth seed proved key to wrapping
up the first set with five consecutive games to contain a solid start from her compatriot
and take a 1-0 lead after hitting 17 winners.

Far from giving in, Bouzkova caught the Bilovec native off guard with a break in the
second game of the second set. Close to making it 3-0, the No. 56 in the world slipped
on the Madrid clay, landing on her racket hand and grazing her knees.

Bouzkova consolidated the break of serve after receiving medical attention, but the pain
in her right thumb was too much for her to go beyond the fifth game of the second set,
when Kvitova had won back the serve she lost and was serving to make it three-a-piece.

Despite the 22-year-old player hitting a winning service return on her backhand to make
it 15-15, she decided not to risk her injury any further and the two compatriots
exchanged some sporting words at the net.

Now, the two-time Wimbledon champion will face Angie Kerber in the second round,
the German having seen off Marketa Vondrousova in their opener (7-6, 6-1), to
continue her bid for a fourth crown in the Caja Mágica.

New challenge

After the match, the champion of the 2011, 2015 and 2018 MMOpens told her side of
the Bouzkova incident. “In the beginning when she fell down, I thought ‘I hope that she
is OK’. I think many times we fall down on the clay when you slide. Then I saw she
couldn’t really hold the racket but I didn’t know it would be that bad probably. I’m sorry
for her”, said Kvitova.

The No. 12 in the WTA ranking also spoke about her next match against Kerber. They
have met twice and their last encounter was won by the German two years ago in
Sydney. The Czech player said she is “really looking forward to playing her because, as
I mentioned, it’s a long time ago” as well as considering it “a big challenge to face a
lefty because she still fights everything”.