PARIS, France - In a match which lived up to its billing, in-form No.25 seed Anett Kontaveit snapped the 13-match winning streak of Petra Kvitova in the third round of the French Open, bundling the No.8 seed out of the year's second major, 7-6(6), 7-6(4).
In addition to a two-time champion in Kvitova, the Estonian was one of the hottest players in the clay court season leading up to the French Open, reaching two semifinals at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in the Stuttgart and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.
Her lone defeat prior to the penultimate round in three leadup tournaments was to eventual champion Kvitova at the Mutua Madrid Open, where she fell in three sets after winning a tiebreak in the opening set.
There was no such result for the 22-year-old on Saturday, however, as she advanced to the second week of a Grand Slam for the second time this year, and third time in her career.
The Czech forced Kontaveit to serve for victory twice in the second set after surrendering a break lead, as she saved three match points overall, but could not hold off the Estonian's determined effort.
"I tried everything what I could. I really left there everything. I'm pretty tired, but pretty proud how I fought," Kvitova said in defeat.
"Even when I didn't play great tennis today, I was still there trying. It's a lot of credit to her. Anett played great tennis today. She didn't really give me anything.
Anett Kontaveit’s run-up to @rolandgarros.
Has now tallied 4 Top 10 wins since the start of Madrid (Venus 2x, Wozniacki, Kvitova). Last three losses came to Top 10 players (Pliskova, Kvitova, Svitolina). #RG18 pic.twitter.com/Hdzyg2Nz7t
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) June 2, 2018
An opening set needed to be decided by extra points in the tiebreak, as both players traded breaks twice. Kvitova pegged back level after Kontaveit served for the set in the ninth game, and neither player pulled out an extended lead of more than a point in the ensuing tiebreak.
The No.25 seed came from a mini-break down late in the action, and though she was denied her first set point thanks to bold play from the Czech, she made no mistake on her second opportunity a short time later.
There was no quit in the two-time Wimbledon champion in the second set, as she came through a marathon, eight-deuce fifth game and saved four break points en route to holding serve, and later winning a mini-battle on the Kontaveit delivery to lead 4-2.
However, the Estonian proved undaunted en route to winning the next three games and giving herself a first opportunity to serve for the match, which she later wrapped up in two hours and four minutes.
"Overall was great to being here healthy, playing best tennis. I did better result than the last year, so I'm improved myself," Kvitova added.
"I'm playing some tournaments before Wimbledon, so I hope that the grass will be great as always. Wimbledon last year wasn't really great for me, so I try to do better, same as today, same as this French Open."