Ninth seed Petra Kvitova got past Natalija Stevanovic in their third-round match-up at Wimbledon on Saturday. The 2011 and 2014 winner at Wimbledon, Kvitova, however, had to first endure a lengthy rain-delay and then had to stave off a determined fightback attempt from her qualifier before posting the win.
In the end, after an hour and 50 minutes of play, the left-hander reached the fourth round. Although Stevanovic had put her opponents in the first two rounds in difficulty with her slice, Kvitova had no problems in tackling the shot.
It also helped that Stevanovic’s backhand crosscourt backhand slice came up to Kvitova’s lefty forehand, helping her dominate the shot-making in the rallies. Nonetheless, in the initial moments of the opening set, it was Kvitova who went down a break.
A break right back steadied the course of the match for the Czech but the pattern of exchange of breaks continued right up to the final game of the match, the 12th game of the second set. In that game, while trying to serve for the match, Kvitova saved three break-back points before getting the win on her fourth match point.
Kvitova’s go-to tactic for the match was either to come to the net in an attempt to volley Stevanovic who preferred to stay at the baseline or to push her shots deep in the corners while opening up the rest of the court for her to finish off the point with a winner.
As the match progressed, Kvitova’s errors did mount and this proved to be costly for her in the second set as she gave away the break back twice after getting the lead.
Wimbledon: Elena Rybakina, Ons Jabeur remain on-course for last-8 meeting
For the match, Kvitova finished with five times as many winners as Stevanovic’s eight.
She also had five times as many unforced errors as her opponent – 36 to the qualifier’s seven. The southpaw won 26 out of 35 points played at the net to the two her opponent won out of six net approaches. This is the first time since 2019 that Kvitova’s made it to the fourth round at the Championships.
She’ll next play sixth seed Ons Jabeur. The Tunisian posted a hard-won win of her own against Bianca Andreescu that required a comeback from a set down and a break down in the third set. Jabeur eventually won 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Meanwhile, the 2022 Wimbledon champion to Jabeur’s finalist, third seed Elena Rybakina also entered the fourth round. In what was her most-convincing win so far in the three rounds here, the 24-year-old won 6-1, 6-1 against local hope, Katie Boulter in merely 57 minutes.
Photo Credit: Simon Bruty/ AELTC