Tennis player Petra Kvitová was happy about advancing to the round of 16 of the US Open, but physically and mentally tired from the drama she had experienced after her match with Garbiňa Muguruza.
The Czech No. 1 turned away two match points in the duel of the 3rd round of the last Grand Slam of the season, and thanks to the 5:7, 6:3, 7:6 win, she will play in the top sixteen after two years in New York. For the quarter-finals, she will face Jessica Pegulaová from home, and in addition to her opponent herself, she will also have to deal with the likely adversity of the audience.
“I have to say that I was completely exhausted,” Kvitová told Czech journalists. “In the tie-break, I pulled it like never before in my life. At the same time, I told myself that it was not my game and that I had to work harder. I wanted to play it by myself, but it wasn’t possible. My head hurts a lot. Although I the blows were with my legs, my hands didn’t swing at all. Fortunately, I kind of ducked it,” she stated.
The two-time Wimbledon champion won her sixth straight match against former world number one Muguruza. But she experienced a similar drama with her for the first time. “I didn’t expect it to be so challenging. I haven’t seen Garbiňe play like this for a long time, especially in head-to-head matches,” said Kvitová.
The native of Bílovec lost 2:5 in the decisive third set and later saved two match points while serving at 5:6.
At the press conference, foreign journalists reminded her of the parallel with the farewell Serena Williams, who withstood five match points in what was probably the last match of her career with Ajla Tomljanovica. “I saw it and I liked how she didn’t give up. She definitely didn’t want to leave the court, and it was the same with me. I didn’t want to finish the tournament, so I kind of hung in there,” Kvitová pointed out.
In the decisive super tie-break, the Czech led 8:5 and had two serves to end the match. But she lost both, the duel continued and Kvitová converted only the fourth match point for 12:10. “The shortened game was a nightmare. We were both very tense and nervous. When such an important tie-break is played, it’s always challenging. But after the win comes a great feeling and after the match point it fell off me. I’m quite happy,” said the former world number two.
Before the super tie-break, Kvitová unusually exchanged eye contact with the members of Muguruza’s team. “They are nice people, so I looked at them. The blonde, the physiotherapist, smiled at me, so I smiled too. We both sighed and went on. This has never happened in my life. It is not usual that I would look into the opponent’s box. We both wished for a different ending, but it was very nice. After the match, everyone also came to me and congratulated me,” Kvitová pointed out.
At the same time, she joked that she had not received any reports that the dramatic conclusion of the match would result in unconsciousness among her circle of supporters. She only had the information that her parents lightly celebrated her progress.
“They say they took a shot, which I understand. Fortunately, nobody got hurt. Or I don’t know about anything. Are you okay?” replied Kvitová towards the journalists with a smile.
In the fight for quarter-final participation at the US Open in her career, the home eighth player in the world Pegulaová awaits her. If successful, Kvitová would equal her maximum on the New York concrete.
“We know ahead of time that I’m going to be in trouble with the crowd, but I hope that a few people can applaud me. I’ve played with Jessica twice and I have a positive record with her, which will help me. We also played here at the US Open, but it went without spectators,” Kvitová recalled.
“But she has improved since then. She has good results throughout the season and is in the Top 10 this year. She plays aggressively, although not completely. However, she moves well and returns a lot. So it will depend on my performance,” added the tournament’s twenty-first player.