Kvitova beats Bencic, Barty next in Beijing

Published by Tennismash / AAP

Petra Kvitova in action during her third-round victory over Belinda Bencic at the China Open (Getty Images)
Petra Kvitova overwhelms Belinda Bencic in straight sets to set a quarterfinal meeting with world No.1 Ash Barty at the China Open in Beijing.

Petra Kvitova advanced to the quarterfinals of the China Open on Wednesday night with a 6-3 6-3 win over Belinda Bencic.

The Czech, seeded seventh, recovered from a break down in the second set to triumph, finishing the match with 33 winners.

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Next up she faces world No.1 Ash Barty, who struggled to a three-set win over local hope Zheng Saisai.

“It’s nice to play her. She plays differently. It’s maybe our fourth meeting this year. She’s in great form; what can we say? She’s No.1. It will be nice and I’m looking forward to sharing the court with her,” Kvitova told wtatennis.com.

“I put in a lot of first serves (against Bencic tonight), which helped me a lot, even if I was downa break in the second, which was pretty difficult mentally. She really went for her shots, but I was able to break her back.

“It was a good match from my side.”

Barty was similarly complementary when speaking about playing Kvitova, who has won two of their three matches in 2019.

“I love playing Petra. I really do. I don’t have the greatest record against her. She is an opponent that I love to test myself against,” said Barty, who lost to the Czech in the Sydney final and the Australian Open quarterfinals in January.

“It’s an extremely difficult match-up. It’s always a tricky one for me.

“There are bits and pieces that I take out of that match from Miami tactically. There are bits and pieces I take out of the match from Sydney. I was really close there. Then in Melbourne, she was able to exploit a few things.

“She’s one of the best human beings on the WTA Tour. It’s always nice to be able to share the court with her. Come Friday, we’re going to have hopefully another good match.”

A strong serving display got Barty out of jail against Zheng, with the world No.1 unbroken in the two-hour, 32-minute arm wrestle.

She eventually triumphed 6-3 6-7 (7-5) 6-2.

The Australian sprayed 42 errors from her racquet and allowed Zheng to pinch the second set after looking on track for a straight-sets win.

A sloppy start to the tiebreak brought Zheng back into the match, Barty going down 6-1 before reeling off four points to drag herself back into the contest. But the Chinese wasn’t to be denied and served out the set.

The decider was largely one-way traffic however, Barty securing two breaks and the match.

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In other matches in Beijing on Wednesday, eighth seed Kiki Bertens joined Barty and Kvitova in the quarterfinals following a three-set victory over Polona Hercog.

Freshly minted US Open champion Bianca Andreescu downed Elise Mertens 6-3 7-6 (7-5) and Jennifer Brady edged Madison Keys 2-6 6-4 6-4.

Andreescu and Bertens will meet in the third round.

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