CINCINNATI, OH, USA - No.14 seed Petra Kvitova rallied from a first set blitz to see off looming Estoninan Anett Kontaveit in her first round match at the Western & Southern Open, 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-3.
Trailing 1-6, 2-4 against the 21-year-old World No.28, the Czech rallied to knot the second set before running away with the tiebreak, and won the last four games of the match to move safely through to the second round.
"I remember when I was 21; it's a little bit easier I think, just playing with no pressure and trying to play your best against good players on the big stages," said Kvitova on-court about the first career meeting between the two. "I know she's playing well...I expected a tough match which it was, and after a set down and a break down, it wasn't easy to come back.
"My coach said the chance will come, and I just had to wait, stay on my serve for the chance to break her. In the tiebreak, you'll never know what'll happened but I played quite good and in the third, you never really know, and it was just about a few points - I was happy it was on my side."
Though Kvitova ended the match with a total of 26 winners and 38 unforced errors, she cleaned up her tennis over the course of the final two sets, posting a ratio of 20 winners to 22 miscues.
For her part, Kontaveit stayed even through the match with 25 winners to 25 unforced, but tallied just three unforced errors over the first seven games to seemingly put herself in command of the match.
The big-hitting Estonian's momentum continued well into the second set, as she showed the form that's taken her to new heights this season in the rankings, as well as her first career WTA title at the Ricoh Open.
Kontaveit broke Kvitova's serve in the fifth game of the second set, and after saving a break point in her ensuing service game, held on to move two games away from a straight sets victory.
However, the two-time Wimbledon champion turned the match on its head with her first break of the match to level the second set at 4-4, and edged out a hold from 30-30 to moved ahead for the first time since 1-0.
Kvitova's momentum continued through the tiebreak, as she won both points on the Kontaveit serve early en route to bulding a 5-0 lead, and served out the breaker with aplomb to send the match to a decider.
Though she was unable to hold on to a break in the first game of the decider, Kvitova quickly reset as she found herself down 2-3, and edged out the final four games of the set and match - three of which went to deuce.
After winning just six points on return in the opening set, Kvitova found her range against the Kontaveit delivery, peaking with 54% of points won on return in the decisive set.
In addition, after dropping serve in her first service game of the third set, Kvitova allowed the Estonian just five points total against her serve.
In the second round, Kvitova will face the winner of the first round match between two of the in-form players from the Rogers Cup in Toronto: Sloane Stephens and Lucie Safarova.