CINCINNATI, OH, USA - The second round of the Western & Southern Open came to completion on Wednesday, with the winners including Petra Kvitova, Venus Williams and a seemingly rejuvenated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Pavlyuchenkova had a difficult first half of the year. Once ranked as high as No.13 in the world, she posted a 7-15 record in the first half of 2012 and dipped out of the Top 30 during the grass court season; but she is now No.23 again and 11-5 in a very strong stretch since the beginning of that grass court season.
On Wednesday she scored the 11th win of that turnaround, a 63 60 drubbing of Julia Goerges, winning eight games in a row from 4-3 in the first set.
The past is much more encouraging for one of the two, however - Wozniacki has beaten Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets in all five previous meetings.
It was not an easy day whatsoever for Kvitova, however, as the No.4-seeded Czech dropped the first set and had to rally from a break down in the third set to make it past dangerous German rising star Mona Barthel, 36 62 75.
"She played really well in the first set. She was really aggressive from the beginning," Kvitova said. "The humidity and heat and everything was bad for me because of my asthma, but fortunately my inhaler helped me, and I had everything like gels and bars to get energy and still be in the game today.
"I'm really glad I fought hard again and won - it wasn't a very nice score on the scoreboard, but I'm really glad that I'm through to the next round, at least."
Williams also showed her fighting spirit, losing a lopsided first set but getting early breaks in the second and third sets and eventually moving smoothly past the tenacious Chanelle Scheepers in an hour and 46 minutes, 26 63 62.
"She's one of those players who puts a lot of balls in the court and makes you play a lot of shots - I wasn't getting them in the court in the first set, but it was good to turn it around," Williams said. "I don't think I was at my quickest today, but I still cover a lot of court. I'm feeling good going into tomorrow."
Next for Williams is No.7 seed Sara Errani, who beat Daniela Hantuchova, 64 64. Williams has beaten Errani handily in straight sets in both of their previous meetings, including a 63 61 win at the Olympics recently.
Peng Shuai, Ekaterina Makarova and qualifier Andrea Hlavackova also won, as did No.9 seed Li Na, who scored a 63 46 63 win over Sorana Cirstea under the lights at night in the last second round match of the week.