The marquee match of the day in Melbourne on Tuesday lived up to the expectations as multi-Slam winners Petra Kvitova and Venus Williams battled to a rousing finish with the Czech coming from a break down in the first to win it 7-6 (6), 7-5.
“I knew it would be difficult,” Kvitova told the crowd. “I thought it was a good quality match from both sides.
“We are playing similar games. It’s always 50-50.”
In the second set, Kvitova led with a break before the 40-year-old Williams fired back to level. But Venus couldn’t force the issue. Kvitova finished with 41 winners and 39 unforced.
Kvitova now meets French semifinalist Nadia Podoroska.
World No. 1 Ash Barty made a triumphant return to the sport. In her first match in 11 months, Barty bounced Ana Bogdan 6-3, 6-3.
“I had so much fun out here today, and I think I missed you guys so much as well!” Barty told her fans on court.
“This is one of my favorite places to play in the entire world, and for me to be able to come back after 11 or 12 months off now. It’s been a while, but I miss this feeling, I miss coming out here and competing.”
Next for Barty is Marie Bouzkova.
2020 Australian Open finalists Sofia Kenin and Garbine Muguruza also were winners.
Today, Serena Williams returns to take on fellow-mom Tsvetana Pironkova. Karolina Pliskova duels Danielle Collins and Kenin returns to meet countrywoman Jessica Pegula.
The Grampians Trophy also begins with Angelique Kerber, Sloane Stephens and Jen Brady.
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