CINCINNATI, OH, USA - No.8 seed Petra Kvitova kicked her US Open Series swing into high gear at the Western & Southern Open, easing past former World No.10 Kristina Mladenovic, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.
"It was kind of different fight today," Kvitova said in press. "I just need myself to get there and really fight, and I was telling myself to fight. And sometimes it just came naturally, but sometimes you really have to push yourself to kind of fight.
"I did a lot of talking to myself today, pushing myself to just go for that, and I'm glad in the important points I went there, played aggressively than she, and that was important today."
Kvitova took an early loss to Kiki Bertens last week at the Coupe Rogers, but has looked in fine form in Cincinnati, outlasting 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams on Tuesday and looking even better against Mladenovic, advancing in just under 90 minutes on Stadium 3.
"I just really enjoyed every second to be out there playing on the center court, and I enjoyed myself today, as well. I didn't think that I played that good as I did against Serena, but I think kind of in the important things, closing out the set, I played solid, and that was important."
Delayed several hours by rain, Kvitova and Mladenovic took the court for three points only to be chased off by another storm.
Once they returned, the duo exchanged breaks late in the opening set with Kvitova ultimately emerging on top, serving out the set to 15.
"Even if I didn't really hit many points on my first serve, I was still able to win the first set and then I was more calmer in the second. Obviously the first set was really up and down. I lost my service games a lot, and I didn't really help myself with that. But I'm glad the return went well."
The second set began in dramatic fashion, playing an opening game that went to seven deuces and featured six break points before Kvitova broke serve.
That seemed to clinch the momentum for the former World No.2, who raced out to a 5-0 lead and served with a match point.
Mladenovic, a reigning Australian Open women's doubles champion with Timea Babos, showed she's still one to over-estimate in singles, breaking back and holding to force Kvitova to try serving it out a second time.
With three more match points at 40-0, the Czech star needed just two to secure victory. In all, Kvitova struck a solid 20 winners to 23 unforced errors, while Mladenovic matched that number in errors but only hit 11 winners.
Up next for Kvitova is either No.15 seed Elise Mertens, who ousted US Open champion Sloane Stephens in straight sets, for a spot in the semifinals.
"I never played. I never faced her. I know that she's in the great form. She won some titles this year, I think. Never played her. Not sure about her game. It depends on Jiri. He needs to find out."