Wimbledon: 2-time titlist Petra Kvitova back in R32; Aryna Sabalenka ekes out a win

Aryna Sabalenka didn't look comfortable at the start of play against Varvara Gracheva

by Abbey Johnson
Wimbledon: 2-time titlist Petra Kvitova back in R32; Aryna Sabalenka ekes out a win

Petra Kvitova was the first player to reach the third round on Friday at Wimbledon. The ninth seed posted a 6-2, 6-2 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich on No. 2 Court after 74 minutes of play. Although the score-line is easy-looking, Kvitova had anything but an easy time out on the court.

After having taken an early lead with a break in the first set, the Czech surrendered the break back in the fifth game. However, Sasnovich’s poor play from the opposite end meant Kvitova regained lost ground in the very next game.

Kvitova’s serve once again came under pressure in the seventh game and the left-hander was brought to deuce after having been 40-0 up. In total, Kvitova needed seven game points to widen her lead to 5-2 over her rival.

A game later, she broke her opponent to go up by a set in the match. In the second set, Sasnovich won her first two service games but beyond that she wasn’t able to pull the match in her direction. Kvitova’s shot-placement either brought up winners for her or drew out errors from Sasnovich.

In the eighth game, serving to stay in the match, Sasnovich lost her serve for the final time on the back of three unforced errors.

Wimbledon: Petra Kvitova takes charge

Both players struggled with their second serve. Kvitova won 31% of her second-serve points to Sasnovich’s 24%.

The latter’s struggles, however, were immense in the first set as she won merely one point off the 10 played on her second serve. Kvitova finished with 25 winners to 17 unforced errors, both of which were higher than Sasnovich’s 11 winners and 21 unforced errors.

In the next round, Kvitova will take on Serbian qualifier Natalija Stevanovic. The 28-year-old who’s playing in the main draw of a Major for the first time in her career reached the third round with a 7-5 7-5 win over Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch.

Meanwhile, in her second-round match, world no. 2 Aryna Sabalenka was taken out of her comfort zone by Varvara Gracheva. Gracheva, who’s now playing for France, won the opening set but the second seed made a strong comeback winning 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 in a match that went on for almost two hours.

Fittingly, Sabalenka finished the match with an ace. In the third round of Wimbledon, the reigning Australian Open titlist will take on Anna Blinkova. Blinkova upset 29th seed Irina-Camelia Begu 7-5, 6-3.

Petra Kvitova Aryna Sabalenka Varvara Gracheva