Melbourne: In-form Czech Petra Kvitova battled her way out of an early-match malaise before grinding down Italian Flavia Pennetta 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to make her first quarter-final at the Australian Open on Monday.
The 25th-seeded Kvitova muttered to herself in irritation as her baseline rockets mis-fired early, but was yelping in triumph after finding her line to close out the match in 115 minutes.
Twenty-year-old Kvitova, a surprise semi-finalist at Wimbledon last year, returned fiercely in the final two sets and captured the decisive break at 3-3 in the third when Pennetta netted a shot under withering pressure.
Pennetta saved one match point at 5-3, but netted a backhand on the second to give the rangy Kvitova her ninth consecutive win. Kvitova will play the winner of the match between Iveta Benesova and Vera Zvonareva.
First Published: Monday, January 24, 2011, 13:02