Inspired Mattek-Sands edges out Kvitova
Petra Kvitova was knocked out of the French Open on Wednesday as Bethanie Mattek-Sands produced an outstanding performance against the 15th seed on Court 1.
Six months on from sustaining severe hand injuries when she was stabbed in her apartment by an intruder, Kvitova exceeded all expectations on her return to competitive action on Sunday, beating Julia Boserup in straight sets.
The two-time Wimbledon champion again performed strongly in her second-round match, but nevertheless bowed out at Roland Garros as Mattek-Sands edged two tie-breaks to prevail 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) in an enthralling contest that saw both players operate at a high level.
Mattek-Sands will now face 23rd seed Sam Stosur, having claimed an impressive victory despite requiring treatment on an apparent injury at the end of the first set.
It was Kvitova who initially looked the stronger, the Czech's power and aggression enough to earn a 4-2 lead after the match had begun with successive breaks of serve.
Mattek-Sands responded superbly, though, her use of the drop shot particularly impressive as she saved further break points in the seventh game before hitting back to force a tie-break.
The American then came from 3-0 down to win the breaker, a thumping backhand return winner earning a set point that was converted with an unreturned serve, but left the court for treatment after moving ahead.
Mattek-Sands returned with her left thigh heavily strapped, yet the winners kept on coming from the world number 117 as she twice broke Kvitova to love at the start of set two either side of dropping serve herself.
Kvitova was in huge trouble when she put a simple forehand long at 1-3, 30-30 but the Czech showed tenacity to save two break points and found herself back on level terms when her opponent netted a backhand in the next game.
The momentum of the tie appeared to have swung again and it was Kvitova applying the pressure ahead of another breaker, which she again claimed the early advantage in.
However, Mattek-Sands responded once more to earn a match point on her rival's serve and victory was hers when Kvitova double-faulted at the worst moment.
Mattek-Sands bt Kvitova  7-6 [7-5] 7-6 [7-5]
Mattek-Sands - 30/15
Kvitova - 34/25
Mattek-Sands - 3/2
Kvitova - 4/9
BREAK POINTS WON
Mattek-Sands - 4/6
Kvitova - 4/14
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Mattek-Sands - 44
Kvitova - 72
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Mattek-Sands - 70/53
Kvitova - 68/26
Mattek-Sands - 91
Kvitova - 8