World no. 2, and defending champion, Petra Kvitova has made it to the quarterfinal of the St Petersburgh Ladies Trophy following a first round bye and then defeating Victoria Azarenka 6-2 7-6(3).
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Photo: Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic returns the ball to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during their WTA St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2019 tennis match on January 30, 2019 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Mike Kireev/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The two exchanged breaks of serve in the first four games of the match, but then Kvitova found her form and won the next four games to take the first set.
In the fifth game, when Kvitova held serve for the first time, Azarenka had a double break points but Kvitova saved one with a forehand winner and then Azarenka hit a forehand into the net preventing her from converting the break points.
Kvitova closed the first set with her twelfth forehand winner of the match. It was these winners that helped her take the lead.
In the second set, Kvitova stormed out to a 5-1 lead, and was serving for the match in the seventh game, with Azarenka holding serve for the first and only time of the match in the fourth game of the second set. Kvitova looked in control, leading 30-0, but then Azarenka won the next three points, hitting a backhand winner to bring up a break point. It was saved by Kvitova with a volley, and then the Czech hit a backhand winner to bring up a match point; however, she double faulted on this point and then doubled faulted again to bring up a second break point for Azarenka. The break point was converted when Kvitova sent a forehand into the net.
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Photo: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates during her WTA St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2019 tennis match against Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic on January 30, 2019 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Mike Kireev/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Azarenka held her serve in the next game, but was still down a break, so Kvitova had a second chance to serve for the match. She once again double faulted to bring up a break point for the Belarusian. Azarenka broke when Kvitova overcooked a backhand, and then she held her serve to level at 5-5.
Both were able to hold their serve in the next two games, taking the set to a tiebreak. Kvitova lifted her game again and cleaned up her unforced errors win the tiebreak 7-3. She earned four match points 30 minutes after getting her first in the seventh game. Azarenka had a stroke of luck as her return of serve off the forehand looked to be going wide, but it caught the net and just landed in. Kvitova didn’t let this get to her as she won the match with a powerful backhand down the line.
Kvitova has won 12 of her last 13 matches, as she won the Sydney International and then lost in the final of the Australian Open. She is looking to continue playing at a high level to win the tournament for the second consecutive year.
In the quarterfinal, Kvitova will face Croatian, Dona Vekic who defeated lucky loser, Veronika Kudermetova in straight sets 6-4 6-3.