In the second quarterfinal of the day in Stuttgart, Garbiñe Muguruza faced Petra Kvitova in the blockbuster match of the afternoon. Both women faced each other last and it was indoors as well: at the WTA Finals in Singapore in a dramatic three-set encounter — and just like last October, the match went the distance, but unliked last fall, Kvitova prevailed with a fast and furious finish.
In TTI’s words
It’s a common cliché to say a match is on the racket of “Player A” or “Player B” and considering their only previous career meeting, the expectation for Kvitova’s and Muguruza’s quarterfinal at the Porsche Arena was for them to trade blows and winners.
However, after a couple of tight game at the beginning, it was the Czech who raced away with the opener, painting lines and finding the majority of her first serves to put Muguruza under constant pressure. Kvitova jumped at anything short off of her opponent’s racket, and wrapped up the first set after half an hour.
After a coaching visit by Sam Sumyk between sets, Muguruza withstood Kvitova’s heavy groundstrokes better and better, and after a long hold in the third game of the second set, it felt like the Spaniard finally found her way into the match but also with a little help of her opponent who didn’t look quite as sharp as she did a little earlier in the match.
Muguruza forced a decider, but as soon as the final set began Kvitova was back to the level she had in the first 30 minutes of the match — as she found the lines and displayed the sort of level that got her to two Wimbledon titles in scintillating fashion to wrap up the match 6-1, 3-6, 6-0.
In the players’ own words
On her performance today and Muguruza complimenting her play:
“That’s nice to hear, yeah, definitely — I think both of us played well today; she served very good as well, especially in the second set — I think that she was trying not to risk really much in the second set and took the opportunity to break me and was definitely good, too…In the third, the beginning of the third the first two games was pretty close and I think that was kind of key of the match then.”
On playing Kerber next:
“I lost to her in Singapore unfortunately, [and] I know how dangerous she is. Definitely she’s playing [a] good game as well. It will be a good challenge to play again. Glad that I’m semifinal, I’ve got three matches. I think that can help me with the confidence and the feeling of the balls and everything. Lefties will be different for sure, I’m used to probably practicing with Lucie [Safarova] or playing with Angie or [Ekaterina] Makarova in Miami, so I think that will be not the problem.”
On trying to carry her serving performance into the next match:
“For sure, definitely, in the third set I served very well — I think it’ll be good to continue that, for sure.”
On her own level during the encounter:
“I’m pretty happy with the match I think Petra played very well especially she served very well and her shots were there, was difficult for me to play because she was hitting so hard — I don’t know, I think today she had a good breakfast! [laughs]”
On the difficult mental component playing an on-fire Kvitova:
“I think it’s very tough because I wasn’t playing bad, I was like running and trying to just fight for every point y’know, she was coming with great shots in the third set I think in important moments she went for her shots and she found them and I was like “man, I’m playing good- 3-0, 4-0, 5-0″. I mean, with these kind of players, with Petra, she’s playing good she hits everything.”
On today’s on-court coaching with Sumyk and Sumyk in general:
“I like on-court coaching, but sometimes, you know, I’m emotional and I say what I feel and I forget there’s a microphone! [laughs] I think it’s good, you know, I show what’s there. He wants me not to be scared of the ball because she hits very strong and I’m like ‘I’m not scared’ but you know it’s like, she’s going for the lines and I can’t play like really long points, but I like on-court coaching; sometimes, it’s very helpful.”