ROME, Italy - No.2 seed Petra Kvitova dropped just one game in a clay court masterclass against Yulia Putintseva, easing through to the third round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, 6-0, 6-1.
Yesterday the tournament suffered its first ‘total washout day’ in modern history, and today players are doing double duty to make up for lost time.
“I’m playing again later in the night, so I still do have a couple of hours,” Kvitova said. “So I’m going to leave to the hotel, maybe have a nap, food, and be ready for the night again.”
After suitable rest, Kvitova is due back on court later today to contest her third round match, awaiting the winner between No.14 seed Anett Kontaveit and qualifier Maria Sakkari.
“I played Sakkari in Miami, and I played a good game,” Kvitova recalled. “But since then I think she’s really built some confidence. She’s won a tournament, and I know she likes to play on the clay. For sure she’s going to be a tough opponent.
“And Kontaveit, we just played a final in Stuttgart which is totally different conditions compared to here. It will be different of course, both of us will have a match under our belts already. So it’ll be interesting to see how we’ll handle it.”
Kvitova didn’t waste any time as she took to the Foro Italico’s Grandstand to contest her first match of the day against Putintseva. She powered her way to an early break, leading 2-0 without having lost a point across both games.
The Czech player was dialed in from the start, striking the ball cleanly and keeping the rallies short, punctuating them with zinging winners off of both wings.
Putintseva couldn’t seem to find any answers against Kvitova’s relentless attacking, and she didn’t manage to create any break chances in either set. Kvitova reeled off the next five games in a row to claim the first set 6-0 in just 20 minutes and start the second 1-0.
The Kazakh recorded a crucial hold to make it 1-1 and avoid the dreaded ‘double bagel’, but she couldn’t halt Kvitova’s momentum. The Czech player continued to serve powerfully, keeping all the pressure on Putintseva, and she dismantled the Putintseva serve with two more breaks of serve to take the match in just 54 minutes.
Kvitova was nearly unplayable on Thursday, striking 22 winners past Putintseva, who only hit four. Putintseva’s unforced error count far outpaced Kvitova’s, too, with 17 against the Czech’s nine. But the serve was the key for Kvitova: she won 89% of first serve points and 75% of second serves, against Putintseva’s 48% and 14%, respectively.
“I feel great today,” Kvitova said. “Of course, I wanted to play yesterday but unfortunately the rain didn’t allow us. For me, playing her is always pretty tough. I played against Yulia already in Indian Wells, a three setter. That was a really tough one.
“And today I expected the same, because I know she plays well on clay. But it was a good one from my side.”