No.10 seed Petra Kvitova won her ninth straight match with a swift quarterfinal victory over No.14 seed Daria Kasatkina at the Mutua Madrid Open.
WTA Staff
May 10, 2018

MADRID, Spain -- Two-time Mutua Madrid Open champion and No.10 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic kept her fine form rolling on Thursday, winning her quarterfinal match over No.14 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia, 6-4, 6-0, to move into the final four in the Spanish capital.

In the first meeting between the two players, 28-year-old Kvitova powered past the 21-year-old Russian with her usual combination of incredible forehands and lethal serves, winning her ninth straight match to clinch the last semifinal spot in Madrid in just 65 minutes.

"The whole day I was saving energy, so I was a little bit worried before the match that I would need some more time to be in the rhythm and move well and everything," Kvitova said to the media, after the match. "But even from the beginning I was pretty ready, so it was a good sign."

The big-hitting Kvitova was very difficult to overcome, as her power game resulted in 26 winners and just 18 unforced errors, while Kasatkina had only 6 winners to 13 miscues. Kvitova won a whopping 86 percent of points on her first serve, while she also was excellent on return, allowing Kasatkina only 36 percent of points on the Russian's second serve.

"From the beginning, I put out good tennis," Kvitova continued. "I was really pushing her, and she didn’t have time to do her spins and whatever she likes to do."

In the semifinals, Kvitova will face her compatriot Karolina Pliskova, after the No.6 seed shocked World No.1 and two-time defending champion Simona Halep, 6-4, 6-3, in an earlier quarterfinal match on Thursday. Pliskova has a nine-match winning streak of her own going as well.

"It’s always just one winner, so one of us will end the streak, but I’m already pretty satisfied with my performance on the clay: in Prague, here, in the Fed Cup," said Kvitova. "I’m enjoying it. I will try to continue it tomorrow, but I know how tough it will be."

Kvitova started the match in dominant fashon, holding at love for 1-0 and then breaking for a 2-0 lead, after Kasatkina threw three double faults into her first service game. Kasatkina got on the board by holding at love for 3-1, but Kvitova matched the Russian with a love hold of her own to grab the 4-1 advantage.

The Czech neared a one-set lead by holding for 5-2, with three forehand winners to get to game point, and her first ace of the match to seal that game. Kasatkina then found herself in deep trouble, staring down a set point in the next game, but Kvitova returned a second serve long to squander that opportunity, and Kasatkina regrouped to hold and stay in the set.

Serving for the set, Kvitova finally started to struggle on her delivery. Kasatkina lost her first two chances to break with unforced errors, but after ending a wild rally with a backhand down-the-line winner, the Russian reached break point for the third time in the game. After a deep return by Kasatkina forced a Kvitova error into the net, Kasatkina was back on serve at 5-4.

But Kvitova returned to an effective tactic in the next game: attacking the Kasatkina serve with gusto. It paid off, as a powerful backhand return forced a Kasatkina error to give the Czech two more set points, and Kvitova converted on the first opportunity after a well-placed service return on the baseline forced a wide error from Kasatkina.

Both players had more unforced errors than winners in the opening set, but Kasatkina had challenges trying to get a handle on Kvitova's first serve, as the Czech won nearly 90 percent of those points. Moreover, the Russian was often forced into double faults -- four in the set -- because Kvitova was attacking the Kasatkina second serve, and indeed won 10 of those 15 points.

After emerging victorious in the tight first set, Kvitova kicked into overdrive in the second set, and romped to the win. A lengthy game on Kasatkina's serve at 1-0 was claimed by Kvitova on her third break point with a bludgeoned forehand service return winner. Two games later, Kasatkina double faulted again while down break point to give Kvitova an overwhelming 4-0 lead.

Unlike in the first set, the two-time Wimbledon champion from the Czech Republic would not give Kasatkina a lifeline. Kvitova held for 5-0 with an ace, and a demoralized Kasatkina dropped serve at love in the final game of the encounter to put Kvitova, the 2011 and 2015 champion, into the Madrid semifinals for the fourth time in her storied career.