Former champ Kvitova earns win


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 - Page 20

Petra Kvitova avoided becoming the latest former champion to be knocked out in the first week at Wimbledon, rallying from a break down in the final set yesterday to beat Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 and reach the fourth round.

The match had been halted on Friday with Makarova up 2-1 in the decider, but the eighth-seeded Czexch broke right back when play resumed and won the next two games as well.

After losing her own serve, Kvitova broke again for a 5-3 lead and then converted her third match point with a forehand winner.

“I didn’t sleep very well, but that doesn’t matter, I came on the court and tried to fight for every point,” she said.

Kvitova won Wimbledon in 2011, but has struggled to match that performance since and has slipped from first to eighth in the rankings. She has a good chance of reaching her second final at the All England Club, however, having seen second-seeded Victoria Azarenka and former champion Maria Sharapova already eliminated on her side of the draw.

“It’s still so far away,” Kvitova said. “I’m the highest-ranked player [left] in my half, but there’s still a lot of great players over there.”

Sloane Stephens of the US, the No. 17 seed, also made it through to the fourth round by defeating Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7/3), 0-6, 6-4.

Because of rain over the last two days, Wimbledon organizers were playing a bit of catch-up with the schedule yesterday, ahead of today’s rest day.

Among several other matches that had been postponed, No. 20 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia beat Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 to set up a fourth-round meeting with second-seeded Andy Murray, who won in straight sets on Friday.

Two seeded players went out to unsedeed opponents, Frenchman Kenny De Schepper beating No. 22 seed Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, while Lukasz Kubot of Poland defeated No. 26 Benoit Paire of France 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.

De Schepper, the 26-year-old world No. 80, booked a last-16 spot at a major for the first time in his career, while Kubot, the 31-year-old world No. 130, celebrated his victory with an impromptu can-can on Court 18.

Left-hander De Schepper will face experienced Fernando Verdasco in tomorrow’s fourth round after the Spanish former top 10 player, now at 54 in the world, cruised past temperamental Latvian Ernests Gulbis, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

Kubot next faces French world No. 111 Adrian Mannarino.

Also yesterday, No. 23 seed Andreas Seppi of Italy beat 12th seed Kei Nishikori of Japan 3-6, 6-2, 6-7(4/7), 6-1, 6-4.

The win was Seppi’s seventh successive five-set victory of the year.