Czech Grand Slam champions Petra Kvitova and Barbora Krejcikova had differing results in the first round of the China Open on Sunday, with Kvitova notching a grueling victory and Krejcikova falling to rising teen Mirra Andreeva.
No.12 seed Kvitova, a Beijing finalist in 2014, overcame Chinese hope Wang Xiyu 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-3 in a 3-hour and 5-minute battle which finished after 12:30 a.m. local time.
Photo gallery: All this year's three-hour matches
It was the first meeting between the two left-handers, with 58th-ranked Wang having just won her first WTA title in Guangzhou a week ago. However, two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova prevailed, successfully coming back from a set down for only the second time this year.
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Kvitova saved a total of seven break points in her first two service games, but Wang had the final say in the opening set, squeaking out the tiebreak after 72 minutes of play.
Kvitova had to fight through a back-and-forth second set to stay in the draw, and at 6-5, the Czech notched a break at love to level the match, well into the third hour of action.
After an early exchange of breaks in the third set, Kvitova converted her fourth break point of a lengthy game with a forehand return winner to lead 4-2. Wang saved a match point in a hold for 5-3, but Kvitova held her nerve in the following game to seal the win.
Kvitova will come back to court on Monday for a big-hitting second-round match against Liudmila Samsonova. World No.22 Samsonova defeated Alycia Parks 6-4, 7-6(4) on Sunday.
Earlier on Sunday, qualifier Andreeva advanced to the Beijing second round by upsetting No.10 seed Krejcikova 6-2, 6-2.
World No.62 Andreeva took an hour and 16 minutes to notch her second victory over 2021 Roland Garros champion Krejcikova in their two meetings. Andreeva also moved past Krejcikova in the second round of this year’s Wimbledon, when Krejcikova retired while trailing 6-3, 4-0.
This time around, Andreeva garnered a completed win over Krejcikova for her fourth Top 20 win, which have all come during her breakthrough 2023 season. Sunday marked Andreeva’s first Top 20 win on hard court.
Andreeva fired 23 winners to Krejcikova’s 11, and the teenager saved both of the break points she faced in the clash.
At 16 years and 155 days old, Andreeva became the youngest match winner at the China Open, surpassing Tamira Paszek, who was aged 16 years and 287 days when she defeated Jill Craybas in 2007.
Next up for Andreeva will be Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who advanced to the second round via a performance bye, due to her semifinal showing in Tokyo. Twice Andreeva’s age at 32 years old, Pavlyuchenkova will be facing off against the up-and-comer for the first time.