A match between two of the six active Wimbledon champions at the Adelaide International 2 went the way of Petra Kvitova on Monday, as the No.12 seed defeated Elena Rybakina in Round 1, 6-3, 7-5.
Two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova exacted a measure of revenge against Rybakina, the reigning champion at the All-England Club.
The outdoor hard courts of Adelaide were kinder to the left-handed Czech than the indoor courts on home soil had been. She never faced break point in 86 minutes and broke Rybakina at the tail end of each set to move safely through to Round 2.
Winning flex 💪@Petra_Kvitova gets in the 2023 win column impressing against Rybankina 6-3, 7-5#AdelaideTennis pic.twitter.com/wx42YmGdTY— wta (@WTA) January 9, 2023
Words from the winner: Knowing that chances to break would be few and far between, No.12 seed Kvitova said she knew she had to bide her time.
"I tried to play faster than Elena. She played really great [in Ostrava]; it was a good match and I know that she's serving really well," Kvitova said on the court. "I was focusing on my serve and I was trying to wait for some chances to break her. My serve really worked well today, so that's what I'm really happy [with].
"We didn't really have a lot of rallies, so it was about the serve and the first one, two points of the rally. I'm glad that I was there for every shot."
Stat check: There was little to separate the two major champions on the stat sheet. Kvitova hit 21 winners to 12 unforced errors, including five aces, while Rybakina racked up 20 winners, 10 unforced and seven aces.
When Rybakina missed her first serve, though, Kvitova pounced: She won 55% of the points played on the Kazakh's second serve -- an advantage that Rybakina couldn't replicate when she had an opportunity on return.
Kvitova lost only 14 points in 11 service games overall.
Bencic holds off Muguruza
No.8 seed Belinda Bencic put in a strong serving performance to defeat former No.1 Garbiñe Muguruza 6-3, 6-4. Coming off a strong week at the United Cup, Bencic fired 10 aces and lost just seven points behind her serve in the 79-minute match.
"I think I served really clean today, I think that was my biggest weapon," Bencic said. "I felt very comfortable in my own service games and I was able to put pressure on the return."
Playing her second match of the season, Muguruza put in a solid performance but could not find a way into Bencic's serving games. The Spaniard fired eight aces of her own and faced just two break points, but one break in each set was enough for the Swiss. Bencic did not face a break point, and after pocketing the opening set she lost just one point on her serve in the second set.
Bencic finished the match with 21 winners to just seven unforced errors. She will face either Jelena Ostapenko or Anna Kalinskaya in the second round.
Pavlyuchenkova returns, falls in two tight sets to Teichmann
2021 Roland Garros finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was back on the match court for the first time in eight months on Monday.
But she was beaten in two tight sets by qualifier Jil Teichmann, 7-5, 6-4.
CLASS from Teichmann 🙌#AdelaideTennis pic.twitter.com/WjyRFe97IE— wta (@WTA) January 9, 2023
Highlights: Teichmann def. Pavlyuchenkova | Haddad Maia def. Cirstea
Pavlyuchenkova ended her 2022 season after the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in May due to a recurring knee injury. Currently ranked No. 365 due to her inactivity, she entered the WTA 500 event on a protected ranking.
Post practice face 😮💨😃 Starting next week in Adelaide! 🇦🇺 @WTA #adelaide #tennis #wta pic.twitter.com/wxEEsDog1m— Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (@NastiaPav) January 6, 2023
Despite Pavlyuchenkova's long layoff, there was little to separate her from World No.35 Teichmann in 1 hour and 39 minutes. One break of serve decided each set, in each set's final game.
Collins downs Pliskova for first win of season
After losing in Round 1 of the Adelaide International last week, there was no repeat on Monday for American Danielle Collins.
The 2022 Australian Open finalist, seeded No.10, will be Teichmann's next opponent after she defeated Karolina Pliskova, 6-2, 6-4.
COME ON 🇺🇸— wta (@WTA) January 9, 2023
Danielle Collins moves past Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-4 in her opening match.#AdelaideTennis pic.twitter.com/BYkUM5VjWM
All three of Collins and Pliskova's head-to-head meetings have been played in Australia, and Collins' 76-minute victory broke a 1-1 tie.