DUBAI, UAE -- No.2 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic put on a dominant display in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, dispatching Slovakia's Viktoria Kuzmova, 6-4, 6-0, to reach the final four in Dubai for the second time in her career.
"I am pleased," Kvitova said, during her post-match press conference. "I didn't give [Kuzmova] any time to do her job, maybe turn the match on her way."
In the first meeting between the two players, 2013 Dubai champion Kvitova was in rare form on the day, winning the final eight games of the match and blasting 21 winners to only 12 unforced errors, needing just 62 minutes to complete her triumph.
2019 Australian Open finalist Kvitova will now face the crafty veteran Hsieh Su-wei in the semifinals, after the player from Chinese Taipei notched her third upset of a Top 10 seed of the week in the quarterfinals with a stirring three-set victory over No.4 seed Karolina Pliskova.
"Definitely [Hsieh is] a tough and tricky opponent," Kvitova admitted. "I played her in Sydney in a really tough match. Will be probably some rallies tomorrow, and I need to be ready for every shot what she's going to bring to the game."
"I think she's reading the game very, very good," Kvitova continued, regarding Hsieh. "That's what is tricky. She is moving well. When she's on the good spot, it's really tough to make those winners.
"Sometimes I really don't know what she's going to bring every shot. It's fun actually, sometimes."
Kvitova jumped out to an early lead, using powerful returns to clinch a break of serve in Kuzmova’s first service game. The Czech then evaded a break point in the following game, blasting her typical powerful serves and forehands to hold on and lead 3-0.
Kuzmova continued to fight, matching Kvitova with big serves and fiery groundstrokes in the early stages of the match. The Slovak used those sturdy shots to force Kvitova into errors, which helped her break back for 3-2 and consolidate for 3-3.
The Slovak then held at love for 4-4, giving the distinct possibility that Kvitova would have to survive one of her signature three-set barnburners. But that in fact would be the last gasp for Kuzmova, who double faulted twice in her next service game, allowing Kvitova to use an amazing return to force an error and break at love for the one-set lead.
Kvitova struggled in the opening game of the second set, with a double fault giving Kuzmova two break points. But an ace and a service winner got the two-time Wimbledon champion out of that hole, and after a tough hold, Kvitova moved through the rest of the match like lightning, needing just 25 minutes to claim the second set.
"In the first game of the second set, I was already facing breakpoints again, which I didn't want to," said Kvitova. "It was probably the key game of the second set."
A huge return leading to a volley winner gave Kvitova the first break of the set to lead 2-0. Kuzmova then saved two break points in her next service game, but not a third after a screaming forehand winner by the Czech put her up 4-0.
There was no stopping Kvitova at that juncture, and the Czech broke Kuzmova once more, at love, to seal the bagel second set and set up a clash with Hsieh, whose guile and grit should make for a fascinating match-up against the pristine power game of Kvitova.