PARIS, France – No.7 seed Petra Kvitova moved through to the semifinals of Roland Garros for the first time since 2012 thanks to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Laura Siegemund that lasted 78 minutes.
Along with Iga Swiatek, the Czech was one of two players to approach the quarters without dropping a set, and she maintained that record against the WTA World No.66, who became the second-oldest player since Norma Marsh in 1971 to make her debut at this late stage of a major event.
Siegemund, though, found the power of Kvitova too great as the two-time Wimbledon champion was able to hit her way out of the majority of troubling situations.
"I'm proud of everything I did today," Kvitova said. "Since I woke up, I felt pretty nervous. Going into the match, I knew it would be a big fight for every point.
"She's a tricky opponent, she has lots of variety in her game. Of course, playing the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam, nothing is easy with nerves.
"I'm happy with my side, with the mental side, and how I handled the pressure out there.
"Of course, I'm happy with my game as well. I served very well in the first set. Then it was a little bit about a few points. When I lost serve I broke her back, I was there, still staying positive and that was a big advantage for me today.
"I'm really happy overall with how I managed it."
Kvitova arrived for this encounter as statistically the best server of the tournament’s remaining players, both in terms of ace struck and percentage of service games won. She amply displayed this in the opening set, as she delivered aces at 0-15 and 15-30 in the fifth game – one of the few times her delivery would come under real strain.
Prior to that, Kvitova had already made a breakthrough, flicking away a couple of winners as she broke to 15 in the fourth game.
Siegemund’s contribution to proceedings may have been insufficient to put Kvitova in great trouble, but there was evidence that if the 30-year-old allowed her level to drop, the German might take advantage. A lovely drop-lob combination in the fifth game and a fierce return winner in the seventh was evidence of her threat.
Indeed, she hung sufficiently tough to force Kvitova to serve out the set, a question that the seed had ample answer to, sealing the opening frame with a solid forehand winner down the line after another ace had teed up the opportunity.
If a single break had been enough to decide the opening set, the second proved to be far more complicated, despite Kvitova claiming the Siegemund serve in the very first game.
Although this advantage was initially consolidated, the match entered a more confused phase in the middle part of the second set, which saw four successive breaks of serve.
Kvitova righted herself with a hold to love then charged to a 15-40 advantage in the following game to take her to the brink of the match. Although the first opportunity was missed, she took the second.
Sofia Kenin or Danielle Collins lies in wait for Kvitova, who is seeking her first French Open final.