The two-time Grand Slam winner, also a two-time quarterfinalist in New York City, was making her first appearance on Arthur Ashe Stadium since 2017 and came back from a break down in the opening set to move past 99th-ranked Kateryna Kozlova of the Ukraine.
Kvitova puts away early charge by Kozlova to win opening set tiebreak
Kvitova opened the match rather tight as Kozlova had her sights on her first break opportunity of the match in no time but the Czech cleanly put it away, forcing an error from her opponent, to secure the service hold. Kozlova then made her first move in the fifth game, taking advantage of an error-strewn service game by her opponent, which ended on a double fault, to get the first break of serve.
Three holds of serve between the pair ensued and Kozlova now found herself serving for the set. Kvitova began her comeback here as she set up three break points. Kozlova, however, handily put all three away and then came up with a set point after drawing an error from her opponent. Kvitova was not giving up as she saw it off before needing another two break opportunities to level the first set at five games apiece.
Kozlova found herself down in her service game at 6-5 as Kvitova came up with her first set point but was not able to convert. The Ukrainian eventually sent the set to tiebreak and found herself up a mini break early. This proved to be the last straw for Kvitova as she hurried away with seven of the next nine point to take the first set with a forehand winner.
Kvitova steadies the ship in a stunning display to victory
The second set was a more routine affair as Kvitova carried her momentum from the tiebreak, breaking her opponent in the first game on her first try with a volley winner. The next two Kvitova service games saw her hold to love, before she pounced on the Kozlova serve once more, setting up two break chances before converting her third to move ahead 4-1.
The big-hitting Czech would go on to lose just one more point on serve the entire match (and her only one in the second set), as she served out the match to love comfortably after forcing a backhand error on return from her opponent. While the lengthy first set took a little over an hour to finish, the second’s duration was halved, at 33 minutes.
It was an on-off service day for Kvitova as all seven of her double faults in the entire match came in the first set though this was balanced by five aces overall. Otherwise, it was routine clean display from the Czech as she produced 33 winners and won 33 of 37 first serve points. Kozlova, on the other hand, managed just a little more than half of her opponent’s winner tally and was successful on 59% of her first service points despite winning all her four points at the net.
The sixth-seeded Kvitova is now due to cross paths with Americans en route to the quarterfinal round as she takes on the on-form Jessica Pegula in the next round.
Should Kvitova win that encounter, and make it to the second week here for the sixth time in her career, it does not get any easier with one of Shelby Rogers or Madison Brengle, against both whom Kvitova has lost her previous clashes, stands in her way to the last eight.