Petra Kvitova and Lara Arruabarrena clashed for the first time in their careers in the opening round of the Mutua Madrid Open. On a day which saw the exits of two top eight seeds in Angelique Kerber and Roberta Vinci prior, defending champion Kvitova stalled the upset train with a clean victory over her Spanish opponent in Arantxa Sanchez stadium.
Kvitova claims the decisive break and serves out the first set
The match began tightly with the first seven service games all featuring a hold of serve. Neither players faced a break point in any of those games. After holding her serve for a 3-2 lead, a coaching assistance by Frantisek Cermak seemed to have boosted Kvitova as she held her serve to love in her subsequent service game before striking first by breaking her opponent for a 5-3 lead. The Czech faced no problems serving out the set, taking her first opportunity to win it 6-3 in 37 minutes after a drop shot fell over the netcord.
Kvitova goes smooth-sailing to the win
The second set began proceedings with Kvitova carrying her momentum from the previous set by breaking the Spaniard in the first game. After saving a break point to go up 2-0, the fifth seed found herself with three break chances in the ensuing game which turned out to be the longest game of the match. Arruabarrena responded by bravely put all three of them away. However, from this point onwards, it was all about Kvitova as she went on to sweep fourteen of the next twenty points to win the match, serving it out to love for a 6-3, 6-2 victory in 76 minutes. It is worth noting that the Czech did not lose a single point in her concluding two service games as well.
The numbers clearly indicate Kvitova's dominance especially on her serve. Despite throwing in three double faults, they were outnumbered by four aces and more significantly, she was successful in 23 of her 29 first service points. She finished the match with 29 winners to 27 unforced errors. With regards to Arruabarrena, despite having a higher first serve percentage at 71 as opposed to Kvitova's 57, she managed to win just 54%of her first serve points and finished the match with just three winners and 20 unforced errors (-17 differential).
Kvitova's reward is a second round meeting with resurging Russian veteran Elena Vesnina, who overcame big-hitting Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in her opening match. This will be the first encounter between the Czech and Russian.