LONDON, Great Britain - The unseeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich recorded one of the biggest upsets of the tournament so far, knocking out two-time former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in three sets.
Ranked No.50 in the world, Sasnovich came into Wimbledon seeking her first grass court win of the season. She achieved it in emphatic style, triumphing 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 over the No.8 seed.
“I know that Petra won two times here, so I think it’s a really good experience for me,” said the 24-year-old Sasnovich. “I wasn’t thinking that I would win… I just gave all I could give on the court.
“It was a good match, but I think I can play better. Petra was good, but I think I deserved it more today. I feel like I can play one more match today!
“I’m happy with my win today, but I’m looking forward. This is just first round. When you come to this tournament, you want to win.”
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) 3 de julio de 2018
Last week Kvitova, who successfully defended her title in Birmingham, withdrew from Eastbourne in the third round citing a right hamstring injury. She came out of the gate today looking sluggish, and Sasnovich capitalized on the the opportunities.
The Bulgarian had Kvitova on the ropes from the outset, keeping the Czech’s serve under pressure and bringing up four break chances across her first three service games. She finally broke through at 4-3, and served out the opening set.
Kvitova threatened to make one of her famous comebacks in the second set, starting off with a 3-0 lead. Despite the No.8 seed’s big lead, Sasnovich was never far behind, breaking back late in the set at 5-4. But the comeback effort was short-lived as Kvitova broke once more to take them into a decider.
It was one-way traffic in the third for Sasnovich as Kvitova seemed to run out of steam in the final set, and the Bulgarian reeled off the last six games in a row to see off the two-time champion after a tough two hours and 18 minutes.
“I think most of the things wasn't working,” Kvitova admitted in press later. “I just didn't feel well obviously. It was a first round, the nerves were there again. I don't know. I just tried to kind of fight with myself. Probably was the biggest opponent which I have.
“I tried. I changed it in the second set when I got an early break. In the third, I think it was just too quickly when she was on the board, and I just couldn't handle it anymore.”
Through to the second round for just the third time in her career, Sasnovich will face young American Taylor Townsend, who knocked out Pauline Parmentier earlier in the day, 6-2, 6-4.
More to follow...