By Jaclyn Stacey
(January 15, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Eighth seed Petra Kvitova outmuscled 2010 Roland Garros champion Francesca Schiavone in a tough three set match on Margaret Court Arena in day two action at Australian Open 2013.
The mental strength of the 2011 Wimbledon champion showed as she overcame a flurry of unforced errors and a second set thumping to regain control in the third set and seal the match 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in just over two hours.
Kvitova hit 42 unforced errors to Schiavone’s 23 and after the match said she was struggling to breath during much of the match.
“I have asthma so I had a little bit of trouble on court with my breathing on court but what’s important is that I came back.”
Schiavone saved a break point in the opening service game of the match to hold and lead 1-0. Kvitova didn’t need many more games to have another opportunity to break, taking her next opportunity in the fifth game to gain the advantage in the match 3-2. She broke Schiavone again in the seventh game to go up 5-2 and have the opportunity to serve out the set.
Schiavone fired up and broke Kvitova while she attempted to serve out the set. She then held to love to trail Kvitova 4-5.
Kvitova capitalized on her next chance to serve out the set, moving Schiavone out of the court and coming into the net to volley a forehand cross court to seal the first set 6-4.
In a second set reversal it was Kvitova that came under pressure early, saving a break point in her opening service game before the fighting spirit of Schiavone sealed a break point in the fourth game. Schiavone broke Kvitova another two times to level the match at one set a piece 4-6, 6-2.
The Italian struggled in her opening service game of the deciding set as Kvitova upped her intensity and determination to claim a break with a Schiavone double fault. She then held serve to go ahead 2-0 with a fist pump. Kvitova breaks again before the women swap breaks in the next three games before Kvitova manages to hold for 5-1. Schiavone holds her next service game and forces kvitova to serve for the match. She fires down a strong first serve on match point to seal the win 6-4, 2-6 6-2.
Kvitova increased her head-to-head lead over Schiavone to 4-1 on Tuesday. She says it is always difficult to play against the Italian.
“We played three times last year and it was always great tennis and a tough match and the last time we played was in Wimbledon and it was three sets so I expected the same, a big fight today and I was the lucky one in the end.”
On her slow start to the season where she lost in the second round in Brisbane and the first round in Sydney Kvitova says “It is always hard when you lose two times in a row and it is the beginning of the year but I had a great off season so I hope that the results will come.”
Elsewhere in Day two action at Melbourne Park world number one Victoria Azarenka defeated Romanian Monica Niculescu 6-1, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena. The defending champion breezed through the first set dropping only one game before going down 0-3 at the beginning of the second set. She went on to break back and the set remained on serve until Azarenka was able to break in the eighth game and serve out the match. She next plays the winner of Eleni Danilidou and Karolina Pliskova.
Serena Williams played through a right ankle scare to completely dominate her opponent Edina Gallovits-Hall 6-0, 6-0 and progress through to the second round.
Two time grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova won through to the second round confidently defeating Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-2, 6-1 on show court three and will face Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei in the second round.
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki came back from a terrible first set defeat to overcome German Sabine Lisicki 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 on the first match on Hisense arena. Wozniacki will play Croat Donna Vekic in the second round on Thursday.
Hobart International winner Elena Vesnina had a tough opening round win over Caroline Garcia, losing the first set before recovering to win in three 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Vesnina plays 21st seed Varvara Lepchenko in the second round who today defeated Polona Hercog in straight sets 6-4, 6-1.
For updated scores, draws and results visit AustralianOpen.com
Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.