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Kvitova Holding Strong On Bottom Half

She was down a break in the third set when play was suspended on Friday night, but the only Top 10 player left on the bottom half of the draw came back and finished strong on Saturday.

Published June 29, 2013 12:02

Kvitova Holding Strong On Bottom Half
Petra Kvitova

LONDON, England - Petra Kvitova dodged a valiant upset bid at Wimbledon on Saturday, completing her third round win over Ekaterina Makarova and keeping her hopes alive in a very open bottom half.

The match was left on a cliffhanger on Friday night - having built a 63 20 lead, Kvitova watched on as Makarova stormed back with eight straight games to take the second set and build a 2-0 lead in the third. Kvitova got a game on the board to cut that lead to 2-1 before play was called for darkness.

Upon resumption the next day the No.8-seeded Kvitova looked much more calm and composed, and played far sharper, winning five of the next six games to beat the No.25-seeded Makarova, 63 26 63.

"I knew it would be quite difficult to play Makarova on grass," Kvitova said afterwards. "I lost against her the last time we played on grass at Eastbourne. I know she really likes the surface. And I didn't play a second round match - it was quite tricky to not play for three days. So I'm very happy to win."

Kvitova is the only former Wimbledon champion in the draw apart from Serena Williams - she won here in 2011, her only Grand Slam title, still the only player born in the 1990s to win a Grand Slam title.

"In 2011, of course I played really well," Kvitova said. "I mean, I played my best, for sure. Every shot was going into the court. It's not the same this year - I have some good things in my game that make it really seem like 2011, but I've dropped a little bit. This year it's always a little bit up and down.

"But moving forward I hope it will be more up than down."

Next up for Kvitova is the No.19-seeded Carla Suárez Navarro, who won her match on Friday. "I played her in Brisbane," the Czech said. "She's quite a tricky opponent. She's Spanish but she can play very well on grass. She has a great slice and she's a very talented player. I'll have to play my best."

Sloane Stephens also had to come back the day after to complete her victory - after dropping the second set to Petra Cetkovska at love the night before, the No.17-seeded American battled back from 2-0 down in the third set to finally make it past the hard-hitting Czech qualifier, 76(3) 06 64.

"I lost focus. But it's a Grand Slam, so you have to play hard, keep going, and know that battling will go a long way," Stephens said. "I was like, 'All right, one point at a time and just play.' That always helps.

"And it was a new day. I had to come out and play hard."

Monica Puig followed in Kvitova and Stephens' footsteps - having been a set and a break down at 64 21 when play was called for darkness on Friday, the Puerto Rican teenager came back on Saturday and battled past Czech qualifier Eva Birnerova, 46 63 64. Puig is now the second Puerto Rican player ever to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam - Kristina Brandi did it twice during the 2000 season.

Stephens and Puig will now play each other for the first time for a spot in the quarterfinals.

"I haven't seen her play that much, but I know she's really aggressive and fights hard," Stephens said. "Obviously it's the fourth round of a Grand Slam, so you've just got to go out and play hard and try to play your best. You have to go out and do your best and do whatever you can to win on the day."

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