The second quarterfinal of the 2016 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix saw top 10 stars Petra Kvitova and Garbiñe Muguruza go head-to-head for the second time in their careers at the Porsche-Arena in Stuttgart. Despite Muguruza being the favourite and the higher-ranked player, Kvitova came out on top in three sets, avenging her loss to Spaniard at the WTA Finals last year. The seventh-ranked Czech is into her second semifinal here in Stuttgart, her first since 2012.
Kvitova overwhelms Muguruza in opening set
Both players started out the match with routine service holds until Kvitova struck first by breaking Muguruza in the fourth game on her second opportunity. She never looked back henceforth as she comfortably held her service game to fifteen before snatching her first break point over Muguruza in the ensuing game to go up 5-1. The Czech served out the set without much fuss, capitalising on her second set point to take the set lead in exactly half an hour.
Muguruza steps up her game to level the match
Muguruza who could not do much in the opening set looked to be in trouble once again when she found herself facing another break point in the third game of the set. She bravely put it away to eventually hold serve. This was followed by a hold serve from her Czech opponent and they were now two games apiece. After a chat with coach Sam Sumyk during the next changeover, Muguruza took advantage of a lacklustre Kvitova service game to break the Czech for the first time in the match.
The fourth-ranked Spaniard held on to this break for the remainder of the set and played with more aggression, thus not giving a chance for her opponent to claw her way back. Eventually, all seemed clear for Muguruza who did just the right thing, converting her first set point to win the set 6-3.
Kvitova charges her way to victory
The Czech responded to the now-rejuvenated Muguruza by cleaning up her service game and this proved vital as she did not face a single break point throughout the deciding set. She took a commanding 5-0 lead by breaking her opponent in the second and fourth games of the decider on her second break point. The concluding game of the match saw Kvitova set up two match points but the first was bravely put away by Muguruza. All seemed over for the Spaniard in the end when her seventh double fault gave the Czech a 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 win and a place in the semifinals, it was the Czech's first top 10 win in six months and her career 39th.
The numbers accounted for Kvitova's dominance as she finished with a positive winner-unforced error differential at +8 (29 winners and 21 unforced errors). Both players served up equal number of aces (six) but Kvitova did not throw in a single double fault compared to Muguruza's seven. Moreover, Kvitova managed a higher first serve percentage and won 75% of her first serve points as opposed to Muguruza's 65%. Unlike yesterday's match where the Czech made 61 net approaches, she only did so four times in this match but was successful in three of them.
Stuttgart will be assured of a southpaw finalist when Kvitova goes up against second seed, defending champion, fellow lefty and local hope Angelique Kerber in the semifinals. For the third straight match, the Czech will seek to avenge her loss to her opponent, she fell to Kerber in a lacklustre performance at the WTA Finals last year.