Petra Kvitova beats van Uytvanck in 3 sets in St. Petersburg

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              Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic returns the ball to Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium during the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy-2020 tennis tournament match in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Petra Kvitova advanced to the quarterfinals at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy by beating Alison van Uytvanck 7-6 (1), 1-6, 6-2 on Thursday.

Kvitova saved a set point at 5-4 in the first set and then recovered after being broken in the first game of the decider. She then won six of the next seven games.

“It was pretty challenging today, for sure,” said Kvitova, who was playing for the first time since losing to Ash Barty in the Australian Open quarterfinals last month.

Kvitova will next play Ekaterina Alexandrova , who upset seventh-seeded Donna Vekic 6-1, 7-5.

Last year’s St. Petersburg champion Kiki Bertens breezed past Veronika Kudermetova 6-1, 6-2 in a second-round match which lasted just 59 minutes.

Bertens hit six aces as she booked a quarterfinal against another Russian opponent, 18-year-old qualifier Anastasia Potapova. Bertens is seeded second in St. Petersburg as she tries to successfully defend a WTA title for the first time since she won the Nuremburg tournament in 2017.

Also, sixth-seeded Maria Sakkari beat Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-4 and will next face top-seeded Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinals.