No room for upsets as Kvitova progresses to the quarters

Antonio Arenas Mutua News, Women's Tennis

Petra Kvitova is now in the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open. The three-time champion of the tournament made sure there were no surprises as she saw off Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 1 minute of play to become the first player to reach the round of eight.

“It was a tough one, definitely”, explained Kvitova. “It was just one break in each set. I’m really glad I managed most of it mentally because it was pretty tough, especially in the third set when I was 15-40 down, love-30 in the last game. So I’m really glad that the serve helped me in the end. I’m glad how we played, for sure. It was very nice tennis.”

Kudermetova came into her first encounter with Kvitova without having lost a single set in the previous two rounds, knocking out defending #MMOPEN champion Kiki Bertens in the second and she also enjoyed a spectacular start to the year: 22 wins that only world number one Ashleigh Barty can match. However, in Kvitova she found an opponent who knows how to capitalise on her experience in the Caja Mágica.

Champion in 2011, 2015 and 2018, Kvitova raced to 3-0 at the start of the match. One break was enough for the Czech player to close out the set with 12 winners and no break points against. Kudermetova’s patience was rewarded as she remained calm in the second set while Kvitova’s service was proving unstoppable. The Russian saved two vital break points at 4-4 and when the Czech’s serve faltered, Kudermetova broke for the first time in the match to take it to a decider.

Kvitova, the ninth seed in Madrid, regrouped and broke her opponent’s serve in the third game and victory was in sight. The Russian had two break points at 2-3 that would have levelled the tie, but the former champion nipped the potential comeback in the bud. About her tough draw so far, the Czech said: “It’s challenging from the first rounds. I feel like I’m not a seeded player, but I am. That’s still very tough. Veronika was really on fire. Since she won in Charleston, she has played great. She will be a big champion”.

Bencic also advances to the quarters
Swiss player Belinda Bencic also sealed her ticket for the #MMOPEN quarter-finals. The eighth seed led the match 7-6 (2), 4-3 when Tunisian Ons Jabeur was forced to retire due to injury.

A semi-finalist in 2019, Bencic today picked up her best ranking victory since the WTA Finals in 2019. Her win over Jabeur, who arrived here with her highest ranking at No. 25 in the world, will give her new confidence for her assault on the Caja Mágica.

“Overall I thought we played a great match”, explained Bencic. “There were no breaks at all in the whole match. I think her serving was great. I think it was a good level. I’m definitely happy with how I played and everything. But for sure I didn’t want to win like this”.