Scrappy win for holder Petra Kvitova

AFP

Sports, Tennis

Kvitova took the opening set on a break and started the second set with another.

A file photo of Petra Kvitova. (Photo: AFP)

Madrid: Holder Petra Kvitova blunted a late attack from France’s Kristina Mladenovic to advance 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) into the third round of the Madrid Open on Tuesday.

The Czech second seed, chasing a fourth title on the Caja Magica clay, has now won her last five matches over qualifier Mladenovic in straight sets.

“It was a pretty difficult match. I fought hard in the end and that’s what counts,” the winner said,

“The clay conditions here are a bit different compared to other venues, so I needed time to fight it out,” she added.

Kvitova took the opening set on a break and started the second set with another. But Mladenovic broke back for 3-all and eventually forced the contest to a tiebreaker, which Kvitova captured.

“I had to fight, but I’m glad that I had this (kind of) match. Hopefully, it’s given me a bit more freedom for the next round,” last month’s Stuttgart clay winner said.

Sloane Stephens beat former world number one Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to equal her best showing at the event, defeating the two-time Australian Open winner for the fourth consecutive time.

Belarusian Azarenka committed nine double-faults in going down to the American eighth seed.

“I was taking control from the baseline points, I was doing the right things,” Azarenka said.

“I was playing smart tennis. But I didn’t create anything with my serve today and it was really frustrating.  I didn’t really have a game plan, that’s something I need to take a look at and fix.  I need to make it more simple and just do the right things,” she added.

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