NEW YORK, NY, USA - No.6 seed Petra Kvitova posted her first win of the Tour resumption in the first round of the US Open, showcasing some ferocious ballstriking to move past Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 6-2 in just one hours and two minutes.
The Czech had lost her opener at last week's Western & Southern Open to compatriot Marie Bouzkova after a dominant opening set, but today she made no mistake in keeping the pressure on an opponent she had beaten in all four of their previous meetings. Ending the match with a tally of 23 winners to 19 unforced errors, Kvitova was ruthless and, in the second set, spellbinding.
When Czech food arrives in the bubble, expect a happy Petra 🙏🇨🇿 pic.twitter.com/RIOlTOWWli— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) August 28, 2020
The Kvitova forehand was on song from the off, with the two-time Wimbledon champion sharp in sensing opportunities in rallies to inject a double dose of pace; two winners from that wing paved the way to the first break of the match for 3-1.
World No.73 Begu, fresh off the Prague semifinals three weeks ago, found herself on the back foot too often in rallies to make a consistent impact. The Romanian seized chances when she could, saving a point to fall behind 4-1 by throwing in a forehand slice that threw Kvitova's rhythm off and breaking back by effectively redirecting power - but despite coming up with several high-level shots, Begu found that even successfully pulling off a behind-the-back trick shot wasn't enough to prevent Kvitova from accelerating.
Blitzing a drive volley and a backhand return on the way to regaining her break lead for 5-3, the 30-year-old made no mistake serving the set out, sealing it on her second set point with a brace of service winners.
When Begu, firing down-the-line winners off both wings, rattled off the first six points of the second set, there seemed to be the possibility of a turnaround. It was extremely brief: Kvitova, early to sense danger, raised her game to near-untouchable levels.
The former World No.2's purple patches have been the stuff of legend over the course of her career, and this passage of play in which she reeled off 21 of the next 25 points was up there with the best of them. There were clean return winners, crosscourt forehands Begu could only flail at and, as Kvitova headed towards the finishing line, a pair of delightfully finessed dropshots.
Begu would belatedly snap the streak by holding serve to stay alive - a game in which she came up with her own highlights-reel point, a terrific get to flick a counterdrop past her looming opponent - but it wasn't enough. Kvitova, who landed 75% of her first serves and won 76% of those points, wrapped up the win with a hold to 15, taking her first match point with a service winner.