MONTRÉAL, Canada - Petra Kvitova got a few monkeys off her back at the Rogers Cup on Friday afternoon, not just beating Marion Bartoli for the first time in three tries, but also getting her first Top 10 win of the season.
Kvitova had lost both previous meetings with Bartoli in three-setters, at the indoor hardcourt event in Linz in 2008 and at the grass court stop in Eastbourne in 2011, but this time the outcome was far different: the No.5-seeded Czech pummelled the No.9-seeded Frenchwoman in just 60 minutes, 61 61.
"It wasn't easy. She's a Top 10 player and she's playing very well, so it's never easy," Kvitova said. "But I knew how I had to play. I played against her in Hopman Cup and remembered her strengths and weaknesses. I'm really glad how I played. It was much better than how I was playing in the first round."
In the first round, Kvitova was down a set and a break to fellow lefty Ksenia Pervak but managed to scrape that encounter out, 46 76(0) 60.
"I think I still had jet lag that day," Kvitova said. "I was confused. It wasn't my best tennis. But I won, and that gave me another chance to play better today. And I did - I was more relaxed, more focused and was able to play my game."
Bartoli expressed how impressed she was with Kvitova's performance.
"I believe today her performance was extraordinary," she said. "When she plays like this it's almost impossibe to play against her. I had break opportunities and every time she served an ace. She was just too good to give me any chances.
"Against Serena I won once and lost once, but I never felt like I couldn't do anything. Against Petra today I was under the impression I just couldn't play. She's able to play a winner from anywhere on the court and whatever ball you send her. She takes your control away. I never felt like this against Serena or Sharapova - for example, when I served well, she would return a missile."
Kvitova had been 0-5 against Top 10 players this year going into the match.
While 2011 Wimbledon champion Kvitova moved on, 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur didn't. The No.4 seed lost to No.16 seed Lucie Safarova, 76(9) 76(5), missing chances in both sets: she was up 5-2 in the first set and had two set points in the tie-break, and she had a 3-1 lead in the second set as well.
"She kept pressing in the first set - as the tie-break went on it could have gone either way, but it didn't go my way," Stosur said. "Again I was up an early break in that second set and let it slip away again. It was just one of those matches where there were a couple points where your opponent steps up and you don't.
"Then you lose six and six."
Stosur was a finalist at the Rogers Cup a year ago, and was asked if she felt any pressure. "I don't really look at that stuff," the Australian said. "I know what I'm ranked and whatever else, and the more matches you win the better off you're going to be. I know it's not the greatest thing to go from a final to whatever we were, third round - but again, I can't control the points and all that. I've just got to control the matches I win, and hopefully not lose too many."