Kvitova Toughs It Out, Rounds Out Final Four
Published June 06, 2012 12:00
PARIS, France - Petra Kvitova has been quietly moving through the French Open draw all fortnight but there was nothing quiet about her quarterfinal win on Wednesday, as the No.4-seeded Czech was pushed to the limits in a thrilling 36 62 64 triumph over surging Kazakh qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova.
Ranked No.142, Shvedova gathered steam with three straight set wins in the qualies, then carried that momentum into the main draw, picking up three more straight set wins before the big one, a 36 62 60 fourth round stunner over Li Na, the No.7 seed and defending champion. Shvedova was already the first Kazakh player ever to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal, doing it here two years ago.
But just like last time her run would end in the final eight. She came close, taking a set and going up a break early in the second, even building a 4-2 third set lead - but in the end Kvitova was too tough, winning the last four games.
"I was very nervous at the beginning and was making some easy mistakes - she also started very well," Kvitova said. "But I knew I had to change my game and had to be the aggressive one going for the points. The games were close but I'm happy I won the big points. I was fighting hard today - I couldn't give up."
"Petra is very precise - she hits very close to the lines, and a lot of times she hits the lines," Shvedova said. "Her game is to just keep attacking - sometimes she makes mistakes but she keeps going for it, which I think is a great thing.
"I had zero energy left at the end. It has been a super long tournament, it's like my third week in a row. In the third set I was just telling myself to fight.
"It was really incredible for me to get to 4-2 in the third set."
"It's my game to go for winners, so I try to play like this on clay too," Kvitova said. "I was making some mistakes today and I would like to change some things in my game, but I'm happy I have some different plans in my game too, to not only play the winners. I was able to adapt today and I'm happy I won."
Shvedova still had time to smile after the loss, when asked about the drizzle in the third set. "It just dropped a little bit for one game. I didn't really feel anything. It was no problem - just people started to move and take their umbrellas out.
"I was hoping for bigger rain so I could go and rest."
Next up for Kvitova is No.2 seed Maria Sharapova, who won through earlier in the day (read more about that match here). Sharapova leads Kvitova in their head-to-head series, 3-2, and also won their only clay court meeting.
"Maria has had a great year and she's playing really well, very fast. She has a big serve too," Kvitova said. "When I beat her at Wimbledon it was something special for me - it was my first final, but I was No.8 and she was the favorite in the match, so I didn't have anything to lose. I could just play my game. But since then it's sometimes a win, sometimes a loss when I play against her.
"I hope I can remember some good things from my last few matches and we'll see how it goes against Maria. It will be a tough match, for sure."