Eight is great: She needed eight match points and just over two hours on court, but home favorite Petra Kvitova moved through to the quarterfinals of the Agel Open after a 7-6(4), 6-4 upset of No.2 seed and World No.4 Paula Badosa.
The two-time Wimbledon champion, a wildcard in the field this week, is through to her fifth quarterfinal of the season after her third Top 5 win of 2022, and fourth Top 10 win this year overall. She needed 2 hours and 2 minutes to finish off a determined Badosa, who dropped her opening match for the fourth time in her last five events.
"The whole match, every game was very, very tight," Kvitova said after the match. "It was really about a few points. Paula really played great. It was really tough to break each other, but in the second set, we did it a few times.
"I had to really close it out with good serves because, otherwise, she put everything back in the last few games. It was really difficult physically, and mentally as well."
Stat of the match: Two years after their first meeting, Badosa and Kvitova have now played twice in the span of three months. Kvitova's win was revenge for an equally-tight defeat she was dealt by Badosa in Round 3 at Wimbledon. On Centre Court at the All-England Club this summer, Badosa was a 7-5, 7-6(4) winner.
Tale of the tape: The high-quality contest matched the pedigree of the two participants. Kvitova hit a staggering 42 winners to 26 unforced errors—a ratio she more than needed in face of Badosa's eight aces, 19 winners and seven unforced errors. Kvitova also saved nine of the 10 break points she faced.
Monumental moments: Neither player lost serve in the opening set, and Kvitova was the only one of the two players to face break point. She saved all five chances Badosa had at 1-1, and didn't face another break point the rest of the set. Six straight points in the tiebreak gave Kvitova a cushion she needed; in a sign of things to come, Badosa saved three consecutive set points before the Czech pocketed the set.
In the second set, the pair traded breaks in the third and fourth games, before Kvitova reasserted her command by breaking Badosa at 3-3. From there, she found her vintage best: After failing to convert six match points on Badosa's serve at 5-3, and one more on her own delivery in the next game, the Czech left-hander fired a forehand winner down the line and an unreturnable serve to seal the match.
Up next: In pursuit of her third semifinal of the year, Kvitova will next face fellow Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, who rallied from a break down in the final set to defeat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-5. Sasnovich served for the match at 5-4 in the third set before Rybakina reeled off the last three games to win. It will be the first meeting between Kvitova and Rybakina.