Kvitova survives Rus scare in Sydney opener


Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova survived a scare against Arantxa Rus in her opening match of the Sydney Tennis Classic on Monday, coming back from a set down to win 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-5 and reach the second round of the WTA 500 tournament.

Czech Kvitova was stunned by Priscilla Hon in the first round at Adelaide last week and came close to another shock as she lost the opening set tamely against the world number 66 and was then dragged into a second set tiebreak.

However, Kvitova clawed her way back to level the contest at one set each and saved two match points in the decider before wrapping up the near three-hour match on Ken Rosewall Arena.

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“I really had to fight a lot. I lost my first match in Adelaide and after losing in the beginning of the season, you don’t feel the best, and that was my case,” Kvitova said.

“It’s been a long time since I turned a match from match points so this is something special.”

Also advancing to the next round of the Australian Open warm-up event was Spain’s Paula Badosa, who beat former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 7-6(1), 6-1.

“A match against Jelena is always tough,” said Badosa, who had a breakthrough season in 2021 and captured titles in Belgrade and Indian Wells.

“She’s a tough player and you never know how good she can be that day, so I’m really happy with my first win of the year.”

In the evening session, Tunisian seventh seed Ons Jabeur was flawless on serve as she made light work of local hope Astra Sharma, racing to a 6-1, 6-3 win. Sharma improved in the second set but was let down by a string of unforced errors as Jabeur continued her fine form from last season.

Nick Kyrgios says Sydney pullout due to COVID-19

Russia’s Daria Kasatkina pulled off a surprise win against 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, prevailing 6-4, 6-0 over the American in just over an hour.

In the men’s ATP 250 tournament in Sydney, eighth seed David Goffin rolled past Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis 6-4, 6-4.

Australian Nick Kyrgios, who pulled out of last week’s Melbourne Summer Set tournament due to asthma, withdrew from his clash with Italian seventh seed Fabio Fognini, later saying that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

Kyrgios, however, said he hoped to be fit for the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.

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