WTA New Haven: Petra Kvitova digs deep to reach the quarterfinals

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WTA New Haven: Petra Kvitova digs deep to reach the quarterfinals

Three-time champion Petra Kvitova needed three sets to dismiss Zarina Diyas 6-1 5-7 6-2 and reach the Connecticut Open quarter-finals. Making her eighth appearance at the Yale Tennis Centre, the Czech continued her bid to lift the trophy as she already did in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Re-entered into the Top 5 on WTA Rankings this week, Kvitova trails only Halep (46-8) for match wins so far in 2018 as she completed her 44th success of the season. The former world No.2 has earned the most three-set match wins so far this year, as she registered a 17-4 record in matches that went the distance.

She will now meet Carla Suarez Navarro for a place into the semifinals. Aryna Sabalenka likes to go to extremes, too high or too low with no in-betweens. She exploited every possibility in her risky tennis, hit massive winners and unbelievable errors before finally defeating the defending champion Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-5 to reach her tenth WTA quarter-final at Connecticut Open.

She will meet for the first time Belinda Bencic. "She has a good character on the court, so she will fight, it doesn’t matter what," said Sabalenka according to WTAtennis.com. "It will be one more challenge for me, but I will do my best tomorrow." “It was a crazy match for sure,” Sabalenka said in her post-match interview.

“Every point I felt it was more crazy and crazy. I was so angry on myself and I thought you have to do it, you led 4-0 in the third, it’s just one way to finish the match.” Sabalenka recovered from 5-1 down in the second set, saved a couple of set points in the eighth game and served for the match but Gavrilova used her creative improvisation and her angles to put more pressure on the Belarusian off the backhand side.

Thanks to her ability to counter-punch and turn defense into offense, the Australian forced a tie-break and extended her record to 8-2 this season as Sabalenka was drawn wide on a forehand pass on the sixth set point. Sabalenka, who hit 15 double faults and more than 60 unforced errors, called Dmitry Tursunov at the end of the second set and he seemed to calm her as she gained a 4-0 lead.

“I look at him and he’s calm and I start to be calm,” Sabalenka said. “But today nothing works and I was calling him for the coaching and he was just like ‘Aryna you just have to be calmer on the court’ and I was like ‘What? What are you talking about?’”.

Gavrilova noted the opponent's growing frustration, and Sabalenka did nothing to hide it honestly, and leveled at 4-4 but Sabalenka closed out the win on a break of serve. Earlier, Russian Ekaterina Makarova clinched her third quarter-final in New Haven as she completed a hard-fought, rain-interrupted 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova, who made the final here in 2014, losing to Kvitova.

Makarova will meet fifth seed Julia Goerges in her third quarter-final of 2018 bidding to extend her 2-0 record at WTA level, though she beat the German in a junior tournament as well in 2005. “The first set was very tough for me,” Makarova said.

“She’s a tough opponent. She mixes it up so I needed to stay solid and not be in a rush, but there was too much rushing in the first set. Then I think this rain a little bit helped me because I calmed down and thought a little bit to understand what I have to do and then I started to enjoy the tennis again with the crowd.” Making her seventh appearance at New Haven, Makarova backed her third Top 10 win of season against No.8 Pliskova on Monday with a see-saw match against a totally different opponent.

The Slovak sliced a lot and spun every king of groundstroke to put the Russian out of position but in the end Makarova was able to make her power from the baseline and her net game resulting in 14 career doubles title do the talking.

Qualifier Monica Puig of Puerto Rico advanced to the quarterfinals of the Connecticut Open on Wednesday, after a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Anett Kontaveit, to claim her fourth Top 50 win of the season. "Anett is one of my best friends on tour.

It’s tough to play a friend. I tried to focus on my game and it didn’t come out exactly the way I wanted at the beginning so I’m really happy to walk away with this win" the 2016 Olympic gold medal said.

“I had an injury in the middle of the year and had to miss a couple of weeks so that got me down quite a bit. I’m happy to have regained confidence in my game and I just feel really good right now”. Puig will face No.2 seed Caroline Garcia in the quarterfinals.