In the marquee match of the start of the second round at the Madrid Masters, Petra Kvitova got the better of Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-5 in an all-lefty match-up.
Kvitova, a 3-time Madrid champion, now leads her rival 8-6. But Kerber had the early lead in both sets though was unable to sustain it. The Czech was able to break right break then break to close out both sets.
“I don’t think that I really played like bad games when she broke my serve,” said Kvitova. “It was kind of important to stay calm, which I did very well I think today, through whole match. I just took her straight away back.
“Definitely it’s bring me back my confidence, being more calm with it, for sure. It will be a little bit difficult probably when it’s end of the set.
“I served very well, especially in the important points. I think like overall the intensity and the tennis itself was on the high level I would say. I think we really played very well. She even served very well, as well. It was tough to attack her serve.”
Kvitova on Monday will meet Veronika Kudermetova in the third round. The 24-year-old Russian stunned defending champion Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-3.
“I think it was a really tough match because she’s a good player, every time she’s fighting,” Kudermetova told the crowd. “I’m really happy about my win today.”
The last two French Open champions, Ash Barty and Iga Swiatek, set a date for Monday, as well.
Barty had to fight off Tamara Zidansek 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to win her 13th straight win on red clay.
“Really tough match right from the get-go,” Barty said. “I think I did a pretty good job in the first set of being able to nullify a few breakpoints, over time work my way into her service games.
“A really tough match. I felt probably my margins were a little bit off today. Made a lot of errors. I mean, I think I was missing in the right way, but still just a foot or two here or there makes a big difference. I felt like there were probably too many loose ones for me today.”
Swiatek, meanwhile, rolled past Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-3.
“I really respect her,” Swiatek said of Barty. “Knowing her story, probably I don’t know whole of it, but she’s like really a solid player, one of the most solid on the tour. She has a great slice. I remember it was hard in Melbourne to keep your legs low, just playing back those slices. I think most of the girls have problem with that. I’m going to remember about that.
“I’m going to play without any expectations because she’s No. 1. She has I think the most wins this year. I don’t care. I just happy that I going to play world No. 1. It’s going to be just exciting.”
Ons Jabeur rallied to beat Sloane Stephens and Paulo Badosa and Anastasija Sevastova advanced.
On Sunday, Naomi Osaka returns to face Karolina Muchova. Simona Halep, Aryna Sabalenka, Karolina Pliskova, Victoria Azarenka, Elise Mertens and Jen Brady are also on court.
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