Petra Kvitova says she was attempting to emulate Serena Williams as she survived two match points before defeating ninth seed Garbine Muguruza in a thrilling final-set tiebreak.
The Czech won 5-7, 6-3, and 7-6 (12-10) to advance to the round of 16 at the US Open.
“With Serena last night it was amazing how she was saving those match points and I was trying to do the same,” the two-time Wimbledon champion said. Williams saved five match points before losing on Friday to Ajla Tomljanovic.
Kvitova will take on the eighth seed. Jessica Pegula advanced to the fourth round after defeating Yuan Yue of China 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-0. In other news, world number one Iga Swiatek survived a scare in the second set to defeat American Lauren Davis 6-3 6-4.
After winning the first set, the Pole dropped the first three games of the second, but rallied from 4-1 down to advance to the fourth round, where she will face Germany’s Jule Niemeier.
Three-time US Open finalist and 26th seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus advanced with a 6-3 6-0 victory over unseeded Croat Petra Martic. Azarenka will face Czech Karolina Pliskova, seeded 22nd, after beating Swiss 18th seed Belinda Bencic 5-7 6-4 6-3.
The sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus defeated Clara Burel 6-0 6-2 and will next face American Danielle Collins, who defeated Alize Cornet of France 6-4 7-6. (11-9).
Kvitova’s most successful Grand Slam has been the US Open, where she has never advanced past the quarterfinals, and she appeared to be heading for another early exit until her late rally.
She rallied from 5-2 down in the third set to save two match points with Muguruza leading 6-5 in the decider. Muguruza saved three match points in the tie-break before the 21st seed came through in New York.
Kvitova added, referring to Williams’ resistance in her final match, “I saw those match points when she didn’t give up.” It was very special, and she didn’t want to leave the court.
“That was the same case with me today. I didn’t want to go out of this tournament, so I was just there hanging somehow. She was playing aggressively, as well. Me too.
“So I was trying to go for it with these first serves or for aces. I think it was nice to see her yesterday fighting until the end.”
Muguruza won the WTA Finals last season but has struggled this year. She hadn’t won back-to-back matches since the Qatar Open in February, until this week.
The two-time Grand Slam champion took the positives from her performance, saying, “I have had some tough losses this year but definitely this one makes me feel like my fighting spirit was there, my tennis was there. I probably need some extra confidence playing on those match points.”