Zhang snapped a four-match losing streak by beating Lauren Davis in straight sets in the first round here on Monday, while World No.6 Kvitova had a bye and was coming off a semifinal showing last week in Madrid.
The Turning Point
It looked like a smooth ride into the third round for Kvitova when she went up 4-0 in the first set, but Zhang promptly reeled off five consecutive games. The set was eventually settled in a tie-break, where down two set points at 6-4, Zhang won four straight points to go up a set.
The Chinese 25-year-old continued that momentum into a 5-3 second set lead, but then it was Kvitova's turn to rally, and the Czech captured four straight games to force a decider.
Like the entire match, the third set was up and down, with Zhang winning the first three games, losing the next three and then winning three in a row once again for a 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-3 triumph that lasted two hours and 35 minutes.
By The Numbers
The third set saw Zhang convert on all four of her break point opportunities and win 14 of 18 points on Kvitova's usually dangerous first serve, while Kvitova won just five of 14 points on Zhang's first serve. Zhang's only Top 30 win before Tuesday came over World No.1 Dinara Safina at Beijing in 2009, so now she has two Top 10 wins to her credit.
"When I came from hardcourts a few weeks ago, I really didn't feel comfortable on clay but have been working hard on it the past few weeks," Zhang said. "Petra played amazing. Whenever I played well, she would raise her level. I had chances to win the match in the second set but she kept hitting winners. There's a lot I can learn from her. I'm a bit lucky to win the match, but it's a really good win for me and gives me so much confidence. I'm so happy."