The first match of the Sunday night session on the Arthur Ashe Stadium always guarantees a great crowd. That factor was even more amped up by the fact that two 2-time Slam champions were facing off–Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova. Neither of them has been great in New York, with Kvitova reaching the quarterfinals once, and this being Muguruza’s first 4th Round.
The first set offered some great tennis from both players. Even though Muguruza and Kvitova are both hard hitters, Kvitova seemed to take charge while Muguruza had to try to counter. The Spaniard was in control and was close to going 5-1 up. As the set wore on, Muguruza became unsure off the forehand side, and Kvitova took advantage of that. Once Kvitova swung the momentum her way and got back to 4-4, it was anyone’s game. The tension kept building and climaxed with Petra Kvitova taking the set 7-3 in the tiebreak.
The 14th seed, from the Czech Republic, was better by a class in the second set. Not only was she hitting well and landing her shots, Kvitova was playing smart tennis. She continued to pick on Muguruza’s forehand and varying shots to that side. Up until the match point at 5-2, Kvitova seemed unstoppable. After winning that game, Muguruza gained a little confidence and definitely gave Kvitova a hard time closing the match out. However, the Czech did a solid job of that herself. After taking a 30-0 lead at 5-3, Kvitova backed it up with 2 double faults and an unforced error, the Czech found herself facing a break point. After saving this break point, and two that followed, Kvitova let out a huge “Pojd” roar, which really seemed to motivate her. Petra Kvitova won the next two games and advanced to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, Kvitova will most likely find herself at the Arthur Ashe Stadium for another night session as she will face the legendary Venus Williams.
It is so incredible for Petra Kvitova to reach this quarterfinal less than a year after she was attacked with a knife in her own home and had to undergo surgery on her dominant left hand as a result. The appalling fact that should be a constant reminder of how severe this attack was is that despite firing 24 winners with her left hand, she still can’t clench her fist, which is why she must utilize her right.
Meanwhile, Muguruza is still the presumptive No. 1 post-US Open despite this exit. The only way that doesn’t happen is if Elina Svitolina reaches the semifinals, or if Karolina Pliskova makes the final.
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