Wimbledon 2022: Kvitova, Badosa set up third-round clash with contrasting wins

Two-time champion Petra Kvitova and No. 4 seed Paula Badosa of Spain won their respective women’s singles second-round matches in contrasting styles as they set up a tantalising third-round clash in Wimbledon on Thursday.

Czech Republic star Kvitova, who won the title in 2011 and 2014, had to quell a second set fightback by Ana Bogdan of Romania to win 6-1, 7-6(5) while Badosa enjoyed a relatively easier time in beating another Romanian Irina Bara 6-3, 6-2.

Between 2010 and 2014, Kvitova did not lose before the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, since 2015, she has reached the last 32 only twice. On Thursday, it looked like Kvitova would suffer another wobble as Bogdan put up a strong fight in the second set, winning five games in a row from 6-1, 5-1 down to lead 6-5 in the second set.

However, she tightened things up just in time to overcome Bogdan. Serving at 5-6, she staved off two set points, one with an ace and the next with a one-two punch, and then edged the ensuing tiebreak, according to a report on the WTA Tour.

After 1 hour and 45 minutes, Kvitova finished with 40 winners, including 10 aces, to 24 unforced errors; Bogdan ultimately tallied 18 winners and only seven unforced errors.

“I’m really glad that’s over,” Kvitova told the No.3 Court crowd after the match. “I didn’t serve it out twice. I should really have lost the second set. But I somehow made it.

“It was very tight. I really tried every game as hard as I could. This was a mental battle, and a few long games on my serve were mentally tough. Ana played a great match even when the second set looked terrible for her. Somehow I made it. I don’t know how but I did it,” Kvitova was quoted as saying by the official website.

The Czech has lost twice to players ranked outside the top 100 this season and until Eastbourne last week, 2022 was turning out to be a difficult year for Kvitova — in 11 of her first 13 tournaments, she could not win back-to-back matches. That fifth career grass title at Eastbourne came just in time for the left-hander who had lost in the first round at the Australian Open and in second at Roland Garros.

Badosa, who lost her Eastbourne opener to Jodie Burrage last week, has recovered to book her place in the third round of Wimbledon for the second year in a row. The 24-year-old has reached at least that stage in five of the past six majors.

The pair have played once before, with Kvitova winning 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the 2020 Australian Open.

The scoreline belies the toughness of the challenge Bara posted at times. The No.122-ranked Romanian, who was making her Wimbledon debut, engaged Badosa in several bruising rallies and wowed the No.2 Court crowd with her deft touch on the drop shot and stellar reflexes at the net.

However, Bara’s attempts to prevent Badosa from overpowering her often resulted in overhitting, with 23 unforced errors outweighing 14 winners and the drop shots that worked were negated by too many that sat up for Badosa to swat away easily.

Badosa’s serve proved to be a formidable weapon as she dropped serve only once, midway through the first set, and conceded only two points on her first delivery.

France’s Alize Cornet remained on course to set the record for most consecutive Grand Slam main draw appearances. The Frenchwoman – who is now tied with Ai Sugiyama on 62 – reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open in January, and returned to the third round of Wimbledon for the first time since 2016 with a 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Claire Liu.

The result means that this is the first season of 32-year-old Cornet’s career in which she has reached the last 32 of each of the first three Slams.

Ajla Tomljanovic, who made her first major quarterfinal at Wimbledon last year, booked her place in her second straight SW19 third round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over American qualifier Catherine Harrison. The result puts the Australian into the third round of a major for the fourth time in her career.

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