Shvedova Re-Emerges, Kvitova & Li Regroup
Published June 02, 2012 12:00
PARIS, France - Petra Kvitova and Li Na faced some resistance but both of them powered into the second week of the French Open on Saturday, and next up for them are a breakthrough story and a re-breakthrough story.
The No.4-seeded Kvitova regrouped from a second set lapse and cruised in the third to beat Nina Bratchikova, 62 46 61. After a routine first set Kvitova was nearly blanked in the second set, falling behind 5-1 - but she cut the deficit to 5-4 before losing the set, and carried that momentum into the decider.
"She played much better after the first set. She was putting pressure on me from the first shot," Kvitova said. "In the second set I was the one running side to side, and that's not my game. So I had to change and be aggressive again and put her back a little bit. But I have to say, she played very well today."
Kvitova is the Czech No.1 on the women's side, but what does she think of the Czech No.1 in the men's game, Tomas Berdych? "I think we are playing pretty similar. We play aggressively and hit flat shots to push our opponents back. Sometimes I like to watch the men's game and learn from their tactics.
"I would be happy to have the same serve as Tomas," she added.
Next for Kvitova will be Varvara Lepchenko, who fought off 17 of the 22 break points she faced, rallied from 3-1 down in the third and lasted over three hours to beat former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, 36 63 86.
"I was fighting until the end. She played amazing. It's her court," Lepchenko said. "When I beat her in Madrid it was a completely different match. She was missing so much and making easy errors. But here she started amazing - I was like, 'Now I know why she won a Grand Slam.' She was playing unbelievable.
"I had to really pull it together and stay very aggressive and fight. And until the very end I wasn't sure if I would pull it out or not. I'm so happy."
Lepchenko had never been past the second round of a Grand Slam before this fortnight but upsets over No.19 seed Jelena Jankovic and No.14 seed Schiavone have pushed her into new territory at one of the biggest stages.
The No.7-seeded Li followed Kvitova into the second week later in the day, going wild with 24 unforced errors in the first set but regrouping very nicely to extend her French Open winning streak to 10 matches in a row, 36 62 61.
"Tennis is best of three sets, so even if I lose the first set, I still have a chance," Li said. "In the first set I was just following what she was doing. I felt like she was the champion on the court. But I changed a little bit at the beginning of the second set to play my way, and I'm happy I was able to do that today."
Next up for Li is the re-breakthrough story, Yaroslava Shvedova. Shvedova made her first Grand Slam quarterfinal right here in 2010, and subsequently broke into the Top 30 that year too - but she was completely derailed by a knee injury last year and although she has maintained her Top 10 doubles ranking, she fell out of the Top 200. She came into this tournament ranked No.142.
But the momentum she built coming through qualifying has carried into the main draw, as she has won three rounds to reach the second Grand Slam second week of her career - Saturday she "came back from ahead" against another former French Open quarterfinalist, Carla Suárez Navarro, building a 64 41 lead, losing four games to make it 64 45, but closing it out anyway, 64 75.