Kvitova, Badosa set third-round clash at Wimbledon

Kvitova, Badosa set third-round clash at Wimbledon

No.25 seed Petra Kvitova and No.4 seed Paula Badosa will clash in the third round of Wimbledon after both passed second-round tests in straight sets. Two-time champion Kvitova held off a late charge from Ana Bogdan to win 6-1, 7-6(5), while Badosa overcame Irina Bara 6-3, 6-2.

Between 2010 and 2014, Kvitova did not lose before the quarterfinals at SW19, lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish in 2011 and 2014. However, this is only the second time since 2015 that the Czech has reached the last 32. The result extends Eastbourne champion Kvitova’s winning streak to seven matches.

Badosa, who lost her Eastbourne opener to Jodie Burrage last week, has recovered to book her place in the third round of Wimbledon for the second year in a row. The 24-year-old has reached at least that stage of five of the past six majors.

The pair have played once before, with Kvitova winning 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the 2020 Australian Open.

How Kvitova beat Bogdan: The former World No.2 was in dazzling form as she swept to a 6-1, 5-1 lead. Consecutive return winners scored the first break of the Bogdan serve for 2-0, and there was barely a let-up for the next hour as Kvitova rained down rapid-fire winners on the Romanian.

However, there were signs from the end of the first set that Bogdan was beginning to find a way to pose a threat. Serving for the first set, Kvitova needed to save four break points before converting her third set point. She then needed to come through six deuces to hold for 3-1 in the second set.

Losing that marathon game seemed to settle Bogdan, whose gritty fight paid off as she put together a run of five games of her own from 5-1 down to lead 6-5. Kvitova was unable to serve out the match twice, squandering a match point at 5-4 with a netted slice before Bogdan levelled at 5-5 with a spectacular return winner of her own.

With the World No.111 surging, Kvitova needed to find something special. Serving at 5-6, she staved off two set points, one with an ace and the next with a one-two punch, and then edged the ensuing tiebreak.

After 1 hour and 45 minutes, Kvitova finished with 40 winners, including 10 aces, to 24 unforced errors; Bogdan ultimately tallied 18 winners and only seven unforced errors.

In Kvitova’s words: “My thoughts? It’s mixed. I think it was great match from the beginning until 5-1, 5-2. Suddenly I felt, like, so exhausted from the games I had. I don’t know, it was just tough to describe. I got a little bit tighter and she just went for it a little bit more. She didn’t miss. It was really tough to close it out.

“I really thought that probably would be third set, that I didn’t even make it for the tiebreak. In the end I did. I don’t know how. Probably my serve helped me for the set point over there. Yeah, I made it. I’m still very exhausted. I’m just glad that it’s done, for sure.”

How Badosa beat Bara: The scoreline belies the toughness of the challenge Bara posed at times. The No.122-ranked Romanian, who was making her Wimbledon debut, engaged Badosa in several bruising rallies, and wowed the No.2 Court crowd with her deft touch on the dropshot and stellar reflexes at net.

However, Bara’s attempts to prevent Badosa from overpowering her often resulted in overhitting, with 23 unforced errors outweighing 14 winners, and the dropshots that worked were negated by too many that sat up for Badosa to swat away easily. Moreover, the Spaniard’s serve proved to be a formidable weapon: she dropped serve only once, midway through the first set, and conceded only two points behind her first delivery.

After tight passages of play at the start and middle of both sets, Badosa was able to assert her authority in closing both out. Bara had a point to level the second set at 3-3, but Badosa denied her with an emphatic drive volley. She proceeded to capture the break and sweep 15 of the last 18 points of the match, converting her first match point with a second serve ace.

Cornet, Tomljanovic return to third round

The year in which Alizé Cornet is aiming to seal the all-time record for consecutive Grand Slam main draw appearances is also proving to be her finest on the major stage. The Frenchwoman – who is now tied with Ai Sugiyama on 62 – reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open in January, and returned to the third round of Wimbledon for the first time since 2016 with a 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Claire Liu.

The result means that this is the first season of 32-year-old Cornet’s career in which she has reached the last 32 of each of the first three Slams.

Ajla Tomljanovic, who made her first major quarterfinal at Wimbledon last year, booked her place in her second straight SW19 third round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over American qualifier Catherine Harrison. The result puts the Australian into the third round of a major for the fourth time in her career.

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