Photo: Paul ZimmerPetra Kvitova (CZE)
DAY 11: Petra Kvitova was made to work hard for her place in the Roland Garros semifinals on Wednesday as she came from a set down against qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova to record a 36 62 64 victory and set up a date with Maria Sharapova for a place in the final.
Shvedova, who had already won seven matches in Paris to reach the quarterfinal, was quickest out of the blocks against the Czech World Champion and seemed to have the greater composure as she moved Kvitova around the court with some ease.
“She started well and I was very nervous from the beginning. The first set I did easy mistakes,” said Kvitova.
The Czech world No.4 raised her game in the second and took charge of the match for the first time, breaking serve twice while holding serve confidently to wrestle back the initiative and appeared to be cruising when breaking again at the start of the third.
“I knew that I had to change my game and I have to be the aggressive one and going for the points. The games were very close. I'm happy that I won the big points.”
Her 24-year-old opponent, however, pulled the break straight back and reeled off four games in a row to leave Kvitova on the ropes. There was to be no fairy tale ending though for Shvedova, who is making her way back after an injury plagued start to her career, as she couldn’t quite hold on to the lead and Kvitova completed the victory on her second match point.
“I was just super‑tired,” explained Shvedova after the match. “In the first set I still had the energy and I played well. I took the advantage I wanted, and then I had just loss of energy. It's been a super‑long tournament… She was playing good and she was attacking, putting pressure a lot. It was very hard for me to play.”
Maria Sharapova, the current favourite for the title and highest remaining seed, continued her dominance in the women’s draw with a 62 63 win against Estonian Kaia Kanepi.
The tall Russian was in control of the match almost from start to finish, having to overcome just a slight wobble at the beginning of the second set to win six of the last seven games and make it to a third semifinal at Roland Garros.
The win sets up a rematch of the 2011 Wimbledon Final which saw Kvitova win her first ever Grand Slam title. It is Sharapova, however, who holds the overall lead in the head-to-head 3-2 and has won both their meetings so far this year.
“[Kvitova’s] an extremely tough opponent, someone that I have had good success against in our last couple of previous meetings. But always tough matches,” the world No.2 explained. “The last one in Stuttgart was a tough two‑setter for me. When she's confident, when she's hitting the ball she's quite dangerous... I hope that I can raise my level.”
In the bottom half of the men’s draw Rafael Nadal once again showed his clay court prowess as he dismissed Nicolas Almagro in straight sets, 76(4) 62 63. In the semifinal he will face another Spaniard, David Ferrer, who emerged victorious from a battle against Andy Murray, 64 67(3) 63 62, to make it to this stage of the competition for the first time at Roland Garros.
Follow all action from Paris on the official tournament website: RolandGarros.com