Former world number two Petra Kvitova kicked off her 2021 debut on American hard courts with a routine victory, with the ninth seed from the Czech Republic needing just a little over an hour to dispatch Alizé Cornet of France in the second round of the Miami Open.
Having retired from her most recent match, in Dubai, with a thigh issue, Kvitova looked untroubled in the contest as she continued her dominance over Cornet, extending her head-to-head over the Frenchwoman to 3-0, with all their three clashes having come in the United States, on hard courts too.
Kvitova sails to opening set bagel express
Former world number 11 Cornet stepped out on Court 1 for the final scheduled match of the day here, with compatriot Caroline Garcia having fallen victim to third seed Simona Halep here, prior.
The older Frenchwoman, coming off a comeback win over 2006 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first round, looked in trouble early on as the powerful Kvitova broke to love.
The next four games all went in favour of two-time quarterfinalist Kvitova, with Cornet not being allowed a single point on serve and Kvitova dropping just two points in her service games, which saw the Czech enact a 5-0 lead.
Serving for the set, Kvitova left Cornet with no answers, the former putting away a serve and volley attempt successfully to set up three set points. A loose backhand error saw one slip away but the Czech would then deliver her second ace of the match to seal the opener 6-0, in 17 minutes.
Cornet mounts challenge but Kvitova too strong in the end
Cornet began the second set with a statement of her own, saving a break point en route to carving out a service hold to get on the scoreboard for the first time in the match.
The next three games all featured routine service holds to 15, with the score now at two games apiece, before Kvitova pounced on the Cornet serve once more, converting the first of two break chances with a backhand return winner to go up 3-2.
After holding her own serve and breaking her French opponent with another punishing backhand return winner once again, Kvitova, now with her third-round berth in sight, faced issues on that wing as a couple of loose errors handed back Cornet one of the breaks.
The next game would be a crucial one for the Frenchwoman as she saved three match points before finally taking advantage of her third game point to force her Czech opponent to try and serve out the win again.
Kvitova was not hanging around any longer this time as the Czech maintained her focus, producing a forehand winner on her fourth match point to close out the match, the score at 6-0, 6-4, in 64 minutes.
The encounter was all on the Kvitova serve with the Czech producing 71% of first serves, winning 77% of points behind that delivery, and eight out of 12 points on her second serve.
Cornet, despite a high first serve percentage of 69 was not able to capitalise much as she was successful on just 50% and 19% of points behind her first and second deliveries, respectively.
Kvitova’s dominance in the match was further substantiated by her staggering 26 winners, in contrast to Cornet’s three.
Meanwhile, the double Wimbledon champion managed just eight unforced errors (+18 winner-unforced error differential), one less than her opponent (-6 differential)
Kvitova’s next opponent is another veteran and familiar foe in 17th seed Johanna Konta.
In what will be the pair's sixth encounter overall, Kvitova will be looking to maintain her mastery over the top-ranked Briton on hard courts, and secure back-to-back wins in three consecutive appearances in Miami for the first time in her career.
The winner of this match will set up a possible encounter with either fifth seed Elina Svitolina or 30th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova next for a place in the last eight.