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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, October 5 2022

 
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Petra Kvitova out-dueled second-seeded Paula Badosa 7-6(4), 6-4 and world No. 1 Iga Swiatek withstood a tough opening set to advance in Ostrava.

Photo credit: Getty

A fierce corner-to-corner rally saw Petra Kvitova and Paula Badosa trade so many ballistic blasts they came to a simultaneous tennis truce.

Legs and lungs screaming for reprieve, both women put their racquets down on court briefly to recover.

Watch: Moutet and Andreev Nearly Come to Blows

In breathtaking clash, Kvitova denied nine of 10 break points out-dueling Badosa 7-6(4), 6-4 to reach the Ostrava quarterfinals.




"I would say actually the whole match—every game—was very, very tight," Kvitova said in her on-court interview. "It was really about a few points. 

"Paula played really great. It was really tough to break each other and then in the second set we did it a few times and still I had to really close it out with a good serve because otherwise she put everything back in the last few games. So it was really difficult physically and mentally as well."



The second-seeded Badosa made a spirited standing saving seven match points over the final two games. Badosa, who had a first-round bye, suffered her fourth opening exit in her last five tournaments.

Baseline exchanges intensified leaving both ladies bending over in inhaling deep gulps of air while Ostrava fans roared support.

Credit Kvitova with keeping calm after seeing Badosa belt a series of winners down the line to save match points.

Ultimately, Kvitova credited the home crowd for keeping her on track in a draining duel that spanned two hours, two minutes popping with some superb shotmaking on both sides of the net.




"Thank you very much for the support, it meant the world to me, especially in the end," Kvitova told the crowd after improving to 3-2 vs. Top 5 opponents in 2022. "Thank you very much otherwise I'm already lying down on the ground already, but you always get me up. Thank you very much."

Tennis Express

The fourth-ranked Badosa battled back from love-30 down with four consecutive crackling serves, including an ace out wide to level after eight games.

The Spaniard slammed another ace out wide sealing the first love hold of the match for 5-5.

Tested to deuce in the ensuing game, a creative Kvitova went with the surprise serve-and-volley. Leaning low, Kvitova knocked off the backhand volley holding for 6-5.

Badosa opened the tiebreaker with the mini break. Then Kvitova caught fire.

The left-hander lashed a cluster of forehand winners and exploited a double fault from the Spaniard to earn a fistful of set points at 6-1.

Credit Badosa for fending off three set points, including clubbing return winners down both sidelines.

On her fourth set point, Kvitova played off the front foot firing three damaging diagonal forehands in a row to close a quality 64-minute opening set. In a set devoid of breaks, Kvitova saved all five break points she faced and hit seven more winners—17 to 10—than the second-seeded Spaniard.

Swinging freely with a one-set lead, Kvitova spread the court with flat forehands finishing with a damaging forehand crosscourt breaking for a 2-1 second-set lead.

Badosa's consistency helped her break right back. Kvitova saved three break points, but missed a backhand on the fourth as Badosa broke back in he fourth game then held for 3-2.

Exploring sharp angles with pace, Kvitova hammered a crosscourt backhand to break again for 4-3. The slice serve wide on the ad side was a weapon for Kvitova throughout the match. Catching Badosa leaning to cover it, Kvitova curled an ace down the middle consolidating for 5-3.

The drama and level of play both elevated as a defiant Badosa dug in and saved six match points in a spirited stand holding for 4-5.

In the next game, the pair were pushing each other all over the court. Both women dropped their racquets and were bending over at the waist breathing in deep gulps of air to recover as Kvitova earned a seventh match point. Badosa blistered a return down the line to save the seventh match point in style.

The Spaniard was in charge of the ensuing exchange, had Kvitova on the defensive and lined up a high forehand. But Badosa played it inside-out exposing the entire line. Kvitova lashed her drive down the line for an eighth match point.

One final Kvitova serve down the middle close it the pair shared a warm and respectful embrace at net after an electric battle.

The win sends former world No. 2 Kvitova into the Ostrava quarterfinals where she will face either reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina or Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who upset two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova at the 2018 Wimbledon.

It was a good day for Grand Slam champions.

Fresh off her run to the Tallinn title, 2021 Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova swept Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-2 for her sixth straight win.

The 23rd-ranked Czech will play Belinda Bencic for a quarterfinal spot. The reigning Olympic gold-medal champion Bencic beat Genie Bouchard on Tuesday.

Reigning US Open and Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek endured a tough test from Ajla Tomljanovic in her first match since beating Ons Jabeur to win the US Open.

World No. 1 Swiatek led 7-5, 2-2 when Tomljanovic retired due to a knee injury.

Swiatek raised her record to 56-7 in 2022.

"It's weird, I had three-weeks break in playing matches and after such an intense time it seems like a lot," Swiatek said. "I felt like I need to get back to the rhythm and it wasn't easy because I had a bye and Ajla had already played a few matches.

"So I felt like I kind of need to catch up, but I'm pretty happy that this match was so intense because I feel like I had to go to another level and it's going to prepare me for the next matches as well."

Tomljanovic opened the court with an acute-angled backhand return, stepped in and smacked a backhand winner down the line breaking back for 3-4.

A stubborn Swiatek saved a couple of break points with some bold serving holding for 5-4.




Serving to force the tiebreaker, Tomljanovic fought back from love-30 down to gain game point, but scattered a backhand wide.

Working her way to net, Tomljanovic was looking for the forehand crosscourt pass, but Swiatek surprised her hammering a pass right into the body to earn set point. Tomljanovic saved a couple of set points, but bumped a drop shot into the tape to face a third.

The Aussie again tried to take the attack to the world No. 1, but Swiatek slid a fine low pass that handcuffed Tomljanovic to take a hard-fought 65-minute opening set.

Resetting, Tomljanovic fought off a jamming body serve, stretched Swiatek with her first pass then spun a forehand pass starting the second set with the break.

Bending over and clutching at her knee early in the second set, Tomljanovic had a game point to confirm the break but could not close. On her third break point, Swiatek broke back to level the second set.

Swiatek will take on either talented Czech Karolina Muchova or American Caty McNally for a semifinal spot.

"It's amazing you can see I really love playing here," Swiatek said. "It feels like home. So I knew it's gonna be like that so after the US Open I was really excited to come back for sure."


 

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