The Top 10 seeds held their ground on Tuesday at the Western & Southern Open, including No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova who held off unseeded Serena Williams 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in second-round play.
“It was a pleasure to share the court with Serena, she’s such a champion,” Kvitova said after the high-level encounter. “We are both coming back — from injury, from motherhood — so it’s something really special to play her. Unfortunately it’s in the second round, but playing a night session against Serena in front of a USA crowd, it’s been great.”
In Kvitova the younger Williams sister ran into an opponent near the top of her game, sporting a tour-leading five titles thus far in 2018.
“I think it was a good match today,” Serena said afterwards. “We both played at a really high level. Only one person could win…I’m still at the very beginning. You know, this is a long comeback. I just began. I just started. Definitely at the very, very beginning. I’m getting there, and I’m going to just continue to work hard, and hopefully I’ll start winning more matches.”
Kvitova out-aced Serena eight to seven, and snapped Serena’s streak of 11 match wins in a row in Cincinnati.
Kvitova’s next opponent is Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, who she beat in the St. Petersburg final earlier this year, and who rolled past Slovak qualifier Viktoria Kuzmova 6-3, 6-0.
Other Top 10-seeded winners Tuesday were No. 5 Elina Svitolina fending off wildcard Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-4, No. 6 Caroline Garcia holding off wildcard and former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-5, and No. 9 Karolina Pliskova subduing Aggie Radwanska 6-3, 6-3.
“It was a really tough match, but I was expecting this because Svetlana is confident after winning in Washington, D.C.,” Svitolina said after edging past Kuznetsova. “It’s definitely nice to see her back after injury. We always have tough battles — today was just one more.”
The lone seeded upset on the day was Croat qualifier Petra Martic topping No. 12 Daria Kasatkina 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. She will next face American teen wildcard Amanda Anisimova who defeated Timea Babos 6-3, 6-4.
Lower-seeded winners were No. 15 Elise Bertens and No. 16 Ashleigh Barty who advanced in straight sets.
Matches to look for Wednesday in Cincinnati include (1) Simona Halep vs. (Q) Alja Tomljanovic, (3) Sloane Stephens vs. the German qualifier Tatjana Maria, (4) Angie Kerber vs. the big-hitting Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Kiki Bertens, and (13) Madison Keys vs. (LL) Camila Giorgi.
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