Martic Outdoes Kvitova, Ivanovic & Kanepi Out
Published September 25, 2012 12:00
TOKYO, Japan - Two Petras entered, one Petra left - Petra Martic pulled off the first big upset of the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Tuesday afternoon, stunning Petra Kvitova in straight sets for the biggest victory of her career.
At Roland Garros this year Martic made her first big breakthrough, scoring her first Top 10 win over a No.8-ranked Marion Bartoli and reaching her first Grand Slam second week. But she also suffered a foot injury during that tournament and after having to pull out of a slew of events in the summer - including the Olympics - that momentum seemed to have come to a grinding halt.
"I got injured in Paris - it was a tear and became inflamed and swollen," Martic said after a recent loss at the indoor tournament in Québec City. "I'm happy to be healthy again but I haven't been playing on the level I'd like to be."
And that slump seemed to spill over into her first round match in Tokyo, as she found herself down 60 10 to Andrea Petkovic - but something clicked.
"I decided when I came here that I would enjoy this tournament no matter what happens," Martic said. "Even when I lost the first set 6-0 in my first match against Petkovic, I just wanted to keep playing without pressure and just enjoy it. I started to play on a really high level and just wanted to keep it going."
Martic ended up beating Petkovic, 06 64 63, and in her second round match against Kvitova brought the big weapons out again, taking it to the No.4 seed with her big all-court game and winning through in straight sets, 64 64.
"I got my first Top 10 win at Roland Garros, but this one is even bigger," she said after conquering the World No.5. "I'm very happy about this win."
Kvitova was very complimentary to the young Croat: "Petra played very well today. She has a big serve, kept me on the defensive and made me run a lot, and that's not my game. She played so well today, very aggressive tennis.
"Petra has really improved her forehand. She hits it very hard down the line and crosscourt. And she also has a good slice, which can be tough to handle."
What's next for the former Wimbledon champion? "I'll stay another day here in Tokyo and get some more practice in, then on Thursday I'll be flying to Beijing, where I'll try to get ready for my first match. I need to do some more work on my serve, because it didn't help me today - I didn't get a lot of free points from it."
Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic followed Kvitova to the sidelines - the No.11-seeded Serb was two games from victory at 63 44 against Urszula Radwanska, but lost eight of the next 10 games to bow out, 36 64 62.
"I didn't really know what to expect today," Radwanska said. "Maybe in the beginning I didn't believe I could win this match, but in the second set I started to play much more aggressive and saw it was working, so I just kept playing my game. I'm very happy to win this match - Ana is really a great player."
Radwanska is coming off back-to-back International-level semifinals in Tashkent and Guangzhou, losing to the eventual champion at both tournaments.
"Every match I play I have more experience and confidence," she added. "And after beating a player like Ana, I believe I can beat the other top players."
Another early upset saw American qualifier Jamie Hampton beat No.15 seed Kaia Kanepi, 57 62 63. Hampton's win over the World No.15 was her second Top 20 win, after a win over then-No.14 Jelena Jankovic earlier this year.
Apart from those three upsets the seeds who took the court went 13-0, including wins from Top 3 seeds Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska. Sharapova had by far the toughest go of things, battling more than three hours to make it past British qualifier Heather Watson, 67(7) 63 64.