Dubai Tennis 2019: Petra Kvitova pleased to regain form ahead of semi-finals
Czech star bounces back from poor previous rounds to set up last-four clash with Hsieh Su-wei on Friday
No 2 seed Petra Kvitova moved into the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semi-finals by easing past Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-0 on Thursday.
The two-time Wimbledon champion, winner in the emirate in 2013, needed only one hour and two minutes to dispatch the Slovakian on Centre Court. In winning, the Czech set up a last-four clash on Friday with Hsieh Su-wei, the giant-killing Taiwanese.
Currently ranked fourth in the world, Kvitova had been made to work hard to reach the quarter-finals and was pushed to three sets by her previous two opponents. However, she displayed her ability against Kuzmova to climb to within one match of a second Dubai final.
“I'm pleased,” Kvitova said. “Definitely more than those two matches before. I didn't give her any time to do her job, maybe turn the match in her way.
“I played two long matches before, and I'm still fine, which is great. I'm very pleased with that, as well.”
Kvitova knows, though, that she has to again be on her game if she is to reach the final. She played Hsieh, the world No 31, last month on her way to winning the title in Sydney, when she triumphed in the last 16, 7-6, 6-2.
The tenacious Hsieh, who began the year by making the semis in Auckland, has been a revelation this week, seeing off a number of stellar names, including Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber on Wednesday.
“As we saw today, she's a big fighter,” Kvitova said. “She beat Angie yesterday. Definitely she's a tough and tricky opponent. I played her in Sydney in really tough match.
“Yeah, will be probably some rallies tomorrow, and I need to be ready for every shot what she going to brings to the game.
“We don't really find many players like her on our tour. It's something unusual. I think that she’s really getting better. She has a great success in the past few months.”
Kvitova had been impressive this season already, too. After winning in Sydney – her sixth title since the start of last year – she finished runner-up at last month's Australian Open, losing to Naomi Osaka in a thrilling final.
Last time out, in St Petersburg, she disappointed by exiting at the quarter-final stage.
"Maybe sometimes I don't look like that I'm really enjoying being on the court and playing tennis, but inside I'm really enjoying it," Kvitova said. "To be honest, I think today was the first day of the better days hopefully to be on the court, off the court.
"It's been tough since I came from Australia and from St Petersburg. I'm glad that it's on the way up."
Updated: February 21, 2019 10:19 PM