World number one Iga Swiatek struggled with unforced errors but found her composure when it mattered most to see off Dutch lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 6-4 4-6 6-3 to reach the third round of Wimbledon and extend her winning run to 37 matches.
Swiatek, a 2018 junior champion at the grasscourt Grand Slam, got off to a slow start in her first meeting against her 138th-ranked opponent but recovered to bag four straight games to win the opening set.
Dutchwoman Pattinama Kerkhove, who lost in the final round of qualifying but was granted a main draw berth when Danka Kovinic withdrew with injury, did not give up and fought back to win the second set with a crucial break in the seventh game.
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Swiatek, who committed 31 unforced errors, found her groove in the deciding set and nosed ahead with a break of serve in the fourth game and then took a 4-1 lead. It proved enough for the 21-year-old to go on and win in two hours and four minutes.
Swiatek will next meet Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, who earlier defeated American Claire Liu 6-3 6-3, for a chance to match her best performance at the All England Club where she reached the fourth round in 2021.
Kvitova reaches Wimbledon third round
Twice former champion Petra Kvitova overcame a second-set wobble to reach the Wimbledon third round with a 6-1, 7-6(5) defeat of Romanian Ana Bogdan on Thursday.
Petra Kvitova in action against Ana Bogdan. – AP
The big-hitting Czech, seeded 25th, was cruising at 6-1, 5-1 but Bogdan staged a remarkable comeback. Kvitova had a match point when serving at 5-4 but was broken for the second time in a row as Bogdan levelled.
Bogdan then had two set points as Kvitova served at 5-6, one saved with an ace, the other with a forehand winner.
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A relieved Kvitova finally got the job done in the tiebreak when Bogdan’s backhand found the net under pressure.
Kvitova, champion at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, will now play Spain’s fourth seed Paula Badosa who enjoyed a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 win over Irina Bara, also of Romania.
Since winning her second title, Kvitova has only managed to reach the Wimbledon fourth round on one occasion but is in good form after winning the Eastbourne grasscourt title last week.