Two-time Grand Slam champion Petra Kvitova rolled back the clock coming up with one of her best wins in years upsetting American No. 1 Jessica Pegula in a thriller 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(13-11).
The 33-year-old Czech came from a break down three times in the third set. After holding a match point at 4-5 on Kvitova’s serve, Pegula served for the match at 6-5, then held three more match points in the breaker. And Kvitova missed on her own match points, as well.
“I think like a lot of emotions, because I couldn’t make it,” said Kvitova. “I just had two match points, right? — but the first one was like a little bit out, so it was always tough when you miss very close. It wasn’t really easy. I guess it just was on the same way as me in that moment that she couldn’t make four of them before.
“Just kept going. I just tried still be aggressive but not always was there for me. The emotions were of course very happy. And a little bit exhausted now.”
Kvitova has now won four of five tour-level head-to-head meetings when facing Pegula.
She’ll return tonight to meet Maria Sakkari. The former runner-up won a tight one over No. 17 seed Karolina Pliskova in three sets 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
Sakkari has won four of seven tour-level collisions against Kvitova. Sakkari was the victor in their most recent meeting at Indian Wells last year.
“I expect big fight, for sure. That’s normally our matches looks like,” said Kvitova. “And I know that she’s playing all three-setters here as well as me probably, so it will be really close one, for sure. I know what I have to play. I know I lost to her here in Indian Wells. So yeah, I know probably everything so I just will try my best to play aggressive as I did today.”
Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff set a huge quarterfinal collision, with both needing three set wins.
Sabalenka saw off No. 16 seed Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. The Belarussian connected on 11 aces with just four doubles. Sabalenka got the one early break of the third then saved a break point serving it out.
Gauff overcame a break down in the third at 4-2 to deny the pesky qualifier from Sweden Rebecca Peterson 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.
“I knew that I was close in the returning games,” Gauff said of her comeback. “I think before that, I had opportunity to break. I was up 40-15. So I knew that if I kept putting pressure, I would get that opportunity again. I just needed to take advantage of it.
“Obviously holding serve was tough for me today, so, you know, I had that pressure. But I was just trying to focus on my service games, because I knew that if I kept putting pressure on the return game she would feel it.”
Gauff, who is now 1-0 as a 19-year-old, leads Sabalenka 3-1 including a win last summer in Canada.
“We always had tough matches, great battles, she’s a great player,” Sabalenka said of Gauff. “I’m going to do my best to do good recovery. Yeah, make sure that I prepare myself as good as I can for that match, because, yeah, it’s going to be a great battle.”
Iga Swiatek continued her title defense rolling past Emma Raducanu 6-3, 6-1 in the evening. Swiatek broke for 4-2 in the first then won the last six games of the match. The world No. 1 lost just four points on first serve.
“Overall I feel like physically she is much further ahead than I am at this moment,” Raducanu told the WTA. “I think I was able to stay competitive in the beginning of the first set. I think the first three games took over 20 minutes. And we were having some pretty epic rallies, and I actually think my defense got better.”
Elsewhere, Sorana Cirstea surprised the 5th-seeded Caroline Garcia 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. Tenth-seeded Elena Rybakina enjoyed a comfortable win over Varvara Gracheva of Russia 6-3, 6-0. Karolina Muchova won a close contest over Marketa Vondrousova 6-4, 6-7(2-7), 6-4 in an all-Czech battle.
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