NEW HAVEN, CT, USA -- Carla Suárez Navarro of Spain moved into the semifinals of the Connecticut Open on Thursday after No.3 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic retired due to a left shoulder injury. The final score was 6-3, ret. in favor of Suárez Navarro.
"[Petra] was playing a lot of matches in Cincinnati and Montreal, so it's not easy," World No.30 Suárez Navarro told the press after her match.
"I think I was playing good, really aggressive; I'm happy to be in the next round," Suárez Navarro added. "I think that I'm playing focused on my game. I know what I have to do to play good."
The Spaniard only needed one break of serve to close out the opening set, before three-time Connecticut Open champion Kvitova took a medical timeout and determined she was unable to continue, after 43 minutes of play. Suárez Navarro has now leveled their head-to-head record at six wins apiece.
Kvitova had 12 winners to Suárez Navarro's four, but the Czech also had 13 unforced errors, outpacing the Spaniard's eight. Kvitova could only get to break point once in the meeting, which she was unable to convert.
"I just felt pain throughout the shoulder," said Kvitova. "Already, yesterday during the match, I started to feel it, and it didn’t get any better. I tried the first set, I tried to play, but overall, it wasn’t really going my way."
"I couldn’t really serve as good as I wanted, the service speed wasn’t that high," Kvitova continued. "I just tried, but when you’re playing someone like Carla, it’s just tough to play at I-don’t-know-how-many percent. If you’re not ready, it’s just tough."
Suárez Navarro will face qualifier Monica Puig of Puerto Rico in the semifinals, after 2016 Olympic champion Puig upset No.2 seed Caroline Garcia of France earlier on Thursday. Suárez Navarro has won four out of their five prior matchups.
"I know [Puig] from a long time ago," said Suárez Navarro. "I know that she can play really fast, really aggressive. I have to be focused, like every match. Every match is so tough. Today she beat Caroline Garcia, a really good player. I know how she can play. But I'll try to play my game, try to play like today. We will see what happens at the end of the match."
Suárez Navarro, who had won four of her last five matches against Kvitova, seemed to have the Czech’s number once more on the night, as she used deep service returns to race to triple break point at 2-1. The Spaniard fired two returns out of play, allowing Kvitova to save two break points, but Kvitova double faulted to hand a 3-1 lead to Suárez Navarro.
Kvitova finally stayed solid on her serve going forward, holding with a backhand winner behind the speedy Spaniard, to stay within touching distance, down 5-3. But the Czech seemed to be headed for a quick opening-set loss after firing a forehand long in the next game to give Suárez Navarro her first set point.
The Spaniard squandered that chance, but set up a second set point with a backhand crosscourt winner. But Kvitova erased that one too, this time with a forehand winner, and then reached break point to get back on serve. However, a strong forehand by Suárez Navarro forced an error from the Czech, and two points later, Kvitova fired a return long to drop the opening frame.
Kvitova took a medical timeout to have her left shoulder worked on following the set, and the World No.5 quickly determined she would not be able to continue, sending former World No.6 Suárez Navarro forward in the competition.