Tennis

Kvitova’s form continues with win over former world No.1 Azarenka

Australian Open tenni s finalist Petra Kvitova continued her strong run of form with a straight-set win over former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka to reach the quarter-finals in Saint Petersburg yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, who rose to world No. 2 after her Melbourne final loss to Naomi Osaka last Saturday, prevailed 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).

It was Kvitova who held serve first in a gruelling opening set that featured six breaks of serve in total - including four in a row to start the set.

The Czech's strong serving stood up under Azarenka's relentless attack, getting the front foot in most rallies to earn the first hold at 3-2, fighting off two break-points in the process. From there it was all Kvitova, who was firing winners from all angles and reeling off the next three games in a row to close out the set.

She led 5-1 in the second set and missed two match-points before ending an Azarenka comeback in a tie-break.

"Unfortunately, I couldn't convert the match-point earlier," Kvitova said.

"I made a double-fault, I really don't know why, but it happened. I really wanted to finish it earlier but, unfortunately, I had to fight back in the second set and then I did quite well in tie-break."

Two-time Australian Open winner Azarenka, who has tumbled down the rankings since the birth of her son Leo and an ensuing custody battle, has still not reached a WTA final since winning the 2016 Miami Open.

In the quarter-finals, Kvitova will face eighth-seeded Donna Vekic of Croatia, who cruised past lucky loser Veronika Kudermetova 6-4, 6-3.

Elsewhere, Russian veteran Vera Zvonareva battled back from a set down to beat fifth seed Julia Goerges of Germany 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 as she looks to rediscover the form which took her to the 2010 Wimbledon and US Open finals.

The 34-year-old, now ranked 97th, will next face third seed Daria Kasatkina.

Kasatkina is yet to play a match in the tournament, having enjoyed an opening-round bye before advancing after Maria Sharapova pulled out with a shoulder injury. - AFP

Tennis