NEW HAVEN, CT, USA - Petra Kvitova has made a habit of playing three set matches lately, and this week she has been winning them, the latest of which came over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in quarterfinal play at the New Haven Open at Yale on Thursday.
Kvitova's quarterfinal loss in Toronto two weeks ago went three sets, as did her first round win and second round loss last week in Cincinnati. Her first and second round wins in New Haven this week also went the distance, and considering she came into her tilt with Pavlyuchenkova with a narrow 4-3 lead in their series it should come as no surprise she went three sets for a sixth straight match and for the 29th time this year.
In fact, Kvitova lost six more points than she won in her rain-delayed encounter against Pavlyuchenkova, but came back from 40-15 down in the last game to break the Russian's serve and secure a 26 62 75 victory.
"It's important to have matches like these where you have to fight until the end where you're not necessarily playing your best. That's part of tennis," Kvitova said.
"Of course, I prefer shorter, two set matches, but I won the last point and that's the important thing."
The third-seeded Kvitova is now two wins away from defending a title for the first time.
"I think coming back to a place where you played very well the last year, you have a lot of emotions and you know the pressure is there as defending champion, and you're defending a lot of points," Kvitova said. "But on the other hand, you know that you can play well here, you have nice memories of the court, the crowd, everything. So for me it's good. "
Zakopalova actually takes a 2-1 series lead into her Friday semifinal with Kvitova, but her two wins were both in 2007 while Kvitova's win came earlier this year.
"We are good friends," Zakopalova said. "She won easily when we last played in Indian Wells. She's a very good player, a Wimbledon champion and I admire her a lot. I have nothing to lose and will try my best tomorrow.
"She's serving very well, so I have to be ready for that. She's also playing very flat and very fast, so I will have to move very well and fight for every point."