Petra Kvitova -21- (CZE) def Agnieszka Radwanksa -33- (POL) 67(3) 63 64
How on earth was this match a 2nd-Round encounter at a Premier-5 Level event? Petra Kvitova and Agnieszka Radwanska: Of their previous 11 matches, all were in Quarterfinals or higher, with the exception of their four career clashes at the WTA Finals.
Factor in Petra’s slow and steady climb since returning to the sport last June, and Agnieszka’s inconsistency over the past year – the situation becomes entirely plausible. Regardless of current rankings or timing of the match-up, the entertaining 2nd-Rounder lived up to their juicy history.
Coming into the match, Petra owned a winning record 6-5. However, Radwanska had won their three previous matches – including the 2016 New Haven Semifinals 61 61, the 2016 Indian Wells Quarterfinals 62 76(3), and the 2015 WTA Finals 62 46 63.
Radwanska takes the first set
In set-1, the two veterans traded breaks in games 3 and 4. Then at 5-all, Petra delivered when it mattered most. She broke Agnieszka to go up 6-5, with a chance to serve for the set.
That chance was short-lived. Petra fell behind 0-40, and two points later, Radwanska forced the tie-break.
Up a mini-break at 4-3, Radwanska won three straight, claiming the set after Kvitova sent a forehand long. One hour and 11-minutes into the match, Agnieszka held the lead.
Kvitova finds her rhythm in the second
Set-2 started with a pair of breaks before Kvitova blew through four straight games. Up 5-1, she again failed to serve out the set, but refused to make that mistake a third time. In half the duration of set-1, we were on to the decider.
How to win with a terrible serve
At 3-all in the third, Kvitova unloaded a pair of double faults: Her 6th and 7th of the match. Remarkably, she still won the game, then immediately scored her seventh break of the match. At 5-4, serving for the victory, Petra was still struggling. She fell behind love-40 before winning five straight points to reach Round-3.
Up Next:  Elina Svitolina -03- (UKR)
Petra’s third match in Doha will not be an easy one, especially if she serves like she did today.
Elina Svitolina has lost only one match in 2018. She opened the year in Brisbane, earning top-10 wins over Konta and Pliskova en route to the title. In Australia, she reached her third career Grand Slam Quarterfinal. If the five trophies she lifted last year are any indication, this will be a good year for the World #3.
Petra has momentum, as well – now on a 9-match win-streak after capturing her 21st career title in St. Petersburg and winning a pair of Fed Cup matches in Prague over the weekend.
Tomorrow’s Round of 16 meeting will be their eighth. It’s important to note Petra has won their last six matches, including a straight-sets victory in their most recent encounter during the 2016 WTA Elite Trophy Final.
This 27-year-old 2-time Grand Slam Champion just won her 21st career WTA Singles title in St. Petersburg; and over the weekend, won both of her Fed Cup singles rubbers, lifting her country back into the World Group Semifnals for the 10th consecutive year. Now a 5-time Fed Cup Champion – Remarkably, in her inspiring return to the sport last year after a career-threatening injury, she won the title in Birmingham in just her second event back on tour. She’s 2-time Wimbledon champion, an Olympic Bronze Medalist, has been ranked as high as World #2, and has qualified for WTA Finals 5-times, winning the year-end championship in her 2011 debut. Competing in her 5th Qatar Total Open, from the Czech Republic – Please welcome, Petra Kvitova
This 28-year-old is a human highlight reel. Known as “The Professor,” her amazing reflexes and inventive play have earned her 20 career WTA Singles titles, and a remarkable five Semifinal runs here in Doha. A Wimbledon Finalist in 2012, she’s a 3-time Grand Slam Semifinalist, 3-time Olympian, and has been ranked as high as #2 in the World. The year-end WTA Finals Champion in 2015, she’s competed in an outstanding 28 career Singles finals, and was voted the WTA’s fan favorite for six consecutive years. Appearing in her 9th Qatar Total Open, from Poland – Please welcome 5-time Doha Semifinalist, Agnieszka Radwanksa