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Petra Kvitova conquers Ons Jabeur in topsy-turvy Cincinnati thriller
The former world No. 2 is into her second WTA 1000 quarterfinal of the season after up-ending Jabeur at the Western & Southern Open for a second straight year.
Published Aug 18, 2022
WATCH: Kvitova won her first tournament of the season in Eastbourne, defeating Jelena Ostapenko in the final.
Petra Kvitova scored a second straight win over Ons Jabeur at the Western & Southern Open, backing up her 2021 victory over the talented Tunisian with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 win to reach her second WTA 1000 quarterfinal of the season.
A former world No. 2, Kvitova is currently ranked just inside the Top 30 and has endured her share of ups and downs in 2022. She suddenly stabilized at the start of the summer with a title in Eastbourne and survived a second-set hiccup to knock out the No. 5-seeded Jabeur in one hour and 47 minutes on Grandstand Court.
“I have to say sorry to Ons for some of those lines,” Kvitova said of her winners after the match. “I didn’t mean it!
“Sometimes there are days where you go for it and it just makes the court, and other times, not. It depends how I wake up in the morning but today it was really a great match and a great fight from both sides. I know the score looks a bit huge but it wasn’t like that; there were many games with deuces, even the last game was really tight so I’m really happy I made it in the end, somehow!”
Kvitova’s most recent meeting with Jabeur came to start the season in Sydney, where the latter scored her first win over the Czech veteran en route to the quarterfinals, foreshadowing what has been a historic year. At 27 years old, Jabeur stormed to her first WTA 1000 title at the Mutua Madrid Open, and shook off a disappointing first-round exit from Roland Garros by becoming the first from her country to reach a Grand Slam singles final, finishing runner-up to Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon.
I know the score looks a bit huge but it wasn’t like that; there were many games with deuces, even the last game was really tight so I’m really happy I made it in the end, somehow! Petra Kvitova
Though she has become a national hero at home, Jabeur’s North American summer hasn’t gone according to plan, having bowed out in the second round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic and retiring to Zheng Qinwen at the National Bank Open.
She began her week in Cincinnati with a narrow victory over local favorite Catherine McNally and was quickly overwhelmed by Kvitova’s power, losing the first five games before finally getting on the board.
Kvitova, who looked in fine form after defeating 2021 finalist Jil Teichmann and Sorana Cirstea, saved two break points when it came time to serve for the opening set, and it was clear that Jabeur would carry some important momentum heading into the second as she raced out to a 4-1 lead.
Though Kvitova would soon level proceedings at four games apiece, she dropped a marathon final game to allow for a deciding set, where Jabeur appeared poised to run away with the match.
Instead it was Kvitova and her awe-inspiring power that won the day: ending the match with 31 winners to just nine from Jabeur, she blanked her higher-ranked opposition to edge over the finish line in just under two hours, converting six of 11 break point opportunities while surrendering her own serve just twice in three sets.
“It’s always taking a while, but I’m really enjoying it here,” Kvitova said about her 11th appearance in Mason. “I didn’t play my best in Toronto, losing in the first round, so this is really something I needed, a good boost! I’ll try to keep going, because I know it’s really tough and rom the first rounds, we’re seeing some really incredible matches. Being in a quarterfinal again is very special.”
Unseeded in Cincinnati, Kvitova will next face either Ajla Tomljanovic or Veronika Kudermetova for a spot in what would be her third semifinal at the Western & Southern Open.