In the marquee match Wednesday in Wuhan, newly crowned World No. 1 Angelique Kerber fell to 2-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in a 3-hour, 20-minute marathon 6-7(10), 7-5, 6-4.
Kvitova won the contest on her seventh matchpoint, ending Kerber’s 8-match win streak.
“I won after playing a long time. I feel happy. But as well I feel tired, and the tournament is still going, so I don’t feel that satisfied. I think it was a great match from both of us,” said Kvitova.
“I really gave everything today.I think same as her.I think it was really about the few points.It was a great battle. So hopefully the fans enjoyed it as well.I did, for sure.I will feel it tomorrow definitely.”
The loss keeps the door open for Serena Williams in the No. 1 race, but her focus remains on the present and the loss to the Czech.
“It’s always tough to play against Petra,” said Kerber. “I think we both played on a really high level over three hours.”
“At the end I think there’s no loser. I did everything today. I was fighting until the end.”
Kvitova will meet British No. 1 Johanna Konta who was a 7-5, 7-6 winner over Carla Saurez Navarro.
Defending champion Venus Williams also lost, going down to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-2.
“It was a good match. I don’t think Venus played her best game. But I’ve been confident and I’ve been playing well,” Kuznetsova said. “I didn’t use couple of my chances in the second set. But, yeah, I still could finish it 6-2.
“I felt like Venus started to play better in the end and it was really important for me to keep the momentum.”
Kuznetsova moves on to meet Agnieszka Radwanska after the Pole gained revenge over Carolina Wozniacki 6-4, 6-2. Wozniacki beat Radwanska last week in Tokyo.
“I’m just very glad to win this match in two sets,” Radwanska said. “Obviously, it’s never easy against Caroline and, well, I was just playing very good tennis tonight and I’m very happy for the win.”
American Madison Keys needed three sets to oust Daria Kasatkina 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 to set up a showdown Thursday against Simona Halep. Both players are in the hunt for a Singapore final 8 qualification.
“I’ve played really well this year and I’m really happy with the way I played in the big tournaments,” Halep said. “I feel good here and that I have a chance to play until the end. At this level, every match is going to be hard.
With rain earlier in the day, two remaining third round matches will be finished Thursday with former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic battling Barbora Strycova and US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova dueling Dominika Cibulkova.
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