Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova recovered from an embarrassing air swing and a two-game lapse to beat Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 7-6 (2) on Monday for a spot in the Australian Open quarterfinals.
Two-time Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray only spent 49 minutes on court in the next match at Rod Laver Arena and was leading 6-1, 6-1, 1-0 when Mikhail Kukushkin retired from their fourth-round match with a left hip injury, giving him an easy path into the quarterfinals.
The 21-year-old Kvitova was seemingly fast-tracking her progress to the last eight until her game momentarily came undone near the end of the second set after she missed a routine overhead at the net to allow the former French Open champion to pull to 4-5.
She lost the next eight points to fall behind 6-5 badly missing on a couple of wild groundstrokes and only managed to force a tiebreaker with two big serves out wide in the 12th game.
Ivanovic’s two double-faults early in the tiebreaker gave Kvitova some easy points and took the pressure off.
The match seemed close to ending much earlier when Kvitova got into perfect position to put away an innocuous lob from Ivanovic but played through the shot too quickly and was hit instead on the body.
“It was a very tough match at the end. I mean it was a really easy point then I thought I got it and I lost eight points in a row,” she said. “I’m very happy I played very well in the tiebreak.”
She’ll next play either Sara Errani of Italy or China’s Zheng Jie, a semifinalist here in 2010.
China’s top hope went out Sunday when French Open champion Li Na wasted four match points before losing to defending Australian titlist Kim Clijsters in rematch of last year’s final.
The temperature in Melbourne hit 32C (90F) on Monday and the sunny conditions made it difficult to serve from one end.
“It’s obviously good for me, I get to conserve some energy,” Murray said. “Tough for him, first time in the fourth—round of a Slam.”
Murray said he slowed down his serve to improve his accuracy, but that was more because he wanted to work an ailing Kukushkin around the court.
“Sounds bad, but that was the tactic and it worked,” said Murray, who had a narrow, three—set win over the Russian—born Kazakhstan player in a warm up tournament at Brisbane two weeks ago but was more prepared for what to expect this time. “I felt like I moved better in Brisbane he came out swinging and I wasn’t ready for it.”
Murray, the losing Australian Open finalist the last two years, will next play either 2008 finalist Jo—Wilfried Tsonga or Kei Nishikori of Japan.
Keywords: Australian Open