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US Open: Kvitova overcomes tough start in straight-sets second round win

Reuters/New York
Filed on September 2, 2020
Petra Kvitova returns a shot to Kataryna Kozlova during the second round of the US Open tennis tournament on Wednesday. - AP

Kerber, Martic advance; 12th seeded Vondrousova crashes out.

Petra Kvitova overcame a rocky start to defeat Kateryna Kozlova 7-6(3) 6-2 in the second-round of the US Open on Wednesday.

Sixth seed Kvitova was off her game early on, committing 20 unforced errors during the first set - twice as many as her Ukrainian opponent - as she struggled with her serve.

The twice Wimbledon champion committed a fifth double fault to hand Kozlova a break point and a 3-2 lead but recovered to save set point at 5-4 and eventually took the set on a tiebreak.

She got back on track in the second set to break Kozlova's serve in the first game before firing off consecutive aces and a pair of winners en route to a 2-0 lead.

A relieved Kvitova wrapped up victory with a powerful serve that a beleaguered Kozlova was unable to return.

"I couldn't move well, I couldn't swing as I wanted," the 30-year-old Czech said. "I'm really happy that I found the way. I really had to fight."

Former champion Angelique Kerber came through a fierce all-German tussle against Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-3 7-6(6) to book her place in the third round.

Kerber, seeded 17th, was fast out of the blocks as she moved into a 3-0 lead but 109th-ranked Friedsam settled down and made her more illustrious compatriot work hard for victory.

Friedsam broke back but surrendered her own serve in the sixth game from 40-0 to allow 2016 winner Kerber to regain control with another break.

Kerber broke immediately at the start of the second set but again Friedsam refused to buckle and responded to break back when left-hander Kerber fired a forehand wide.

Friedsam, who suffered first-round exits on both her previous main draw appearances at Flushing Meadows, grew increasingly confident and worked tirelessly to force Kerber into a tiebreak on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Kerber drifted an attempted dropshot wide on her first match point at 6-5 but a wild forehand from Friedsam offered her another chance and she converted at the second attempt.

"It was really a tricky match and when you play against a German it's never easily mentally," Kerber, playing in her 50th Grand Slam tournament, said on court.

Kerber will face an American challenge next, either 13th seed Alison Riske or Ann Li.

Eighth seed Petra Martic sailed into the third round with a 6-3 6-4 win over Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko on Wednesday.

Unforced errors from Martic allowed her 349th-ranked opponent to stay in the match but the Croatian compensated for some sloppy play by hammering down eight aces.

Martic had Bondarenko under almost constant pressure, creating 16 break chances but converting just four.

One of those breaks came in the final game as Martic took advantage of her third match point to send the 34-year-old Bondarenko to the exit.

With the top 24 seeded women all safely through the first round, Martic led the way into the third, leaving her one victory away from matching her best US Open result from a year ago when reached the round of 16.

The Czech Republic's Marketa Vondrousova crashed out in the second round when Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich beat the 12th seed 6-1 6-2.

Vondrousova, who reached the French Open final last year, endured a disappointing outing with her 16 winners overshadowed by 21 unforced errors as she became the highest seed in the women's field so far to be eliminated at Flushing Meadows.

Sasnovich converted four of eight break points while saving all six she faced on her serve to wrap up the match in just 65 minutes and advance to the third round of the US Open for only the second time in her career.

Men's Singles (Second Round):

Filip Krajinovic (26), Serbia, def. Marcos Giron, United States, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.

Women's Singles (Second Round):

Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Belarus, def. Marketa Vondrousova (12), Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-2.

Anett Kontaveit (14), Estonia, def. Kaja Juvan, Slovenia, 6-4, 6-1.

Petra Martic (8), Croatia, def. Kateryna Bondarenko, Ukraine, 6-3, 6-4.

Angelique Kerber (17), Germany, def. Anna-Lena Friedsam, Germany, 6-3, 7-6 (6).

Varvara Gracheva, Russia, def. Kristina Mladenovic (30), France, 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-0.

Petra Kvitova (6), Czech Republic, def. Kateryna Kozlova, Ukraine, 7-6 (3), 6-2.

Yulia Putintseva (23), Kazakhstan, def. Vera Lapko, Belarus, 6-3, 6-3.

Jennifer Brady (28), United States, def. CiCi Bellis, United States, 6-1, 6-2.

Magda Linette (24), Poland, def. Danka Kovinic, Montenegro, 6-1, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (4).

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