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Kvitova upsets world No 3 Pegula for 30th career top 5 win as Czechs go down to USA

32-year-old Czech upsets world No 3 Pegula in two-hour battle for her 15th win over a top 3 player

Petra Kvitova at the United Cup 2023 Petra Kvitova at the United Cup 2023 Image Credit – United Cup

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova may be ranked No 16 in the world but on her day, she can beat the best players in the world. On Friday, the 32-year-old demonstrated that once again as she upset world No 3 Jessica Pegula in a hard-fought battle in the United Cup tie between the Czech Republic and United States.

Already down 2-0 after Thursday’s singles matches, Czech hopes were kept alive by Kvitova in the match which included a dramatic first set that lasted 80 minutes.

Serving while trailing 5-4, Pegula saved six set points in the 10th game and then broke the Czech for a 6-5 lead. She moved ahead 40-0 only to see Kvitova claw her way back and take the set into a tiebreak. The American took the lead in the tiebreak again, going up 5-1 before Kvitova fought back. After saving seven set points, she finally claimed the first set 7-6.

Kvitova broke twice early in the second set to go ahead 3-0. Although Pegula got one break back to narrow the lead to 3-1, Kvitova held on to her serve from there to complete the 7-6, 6-4 win in one hour and 59 minutes.

“We are not really favorites here, but we are fighting every match, every point” – Kvitova

This was Kvitova’s third win in four career meetings over Pegula, whose lone win over the Czech came at the 2022 US Open in the fourth round.

This was also the 30th top 5 win (and the 15th win over a top 3 opponent) for Kvitova, whose first top 5 win came at the 2009 US Open when she beat then world No 1 Dinara Safina in the third round.

For Pegula, the loss was her fourth in a row after she went 0-3 in the round-robin stage of the 2022 WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We keep fighting,” Kvitova said after her win as quoted by the WTA Tour. “I think USA is such a great team with great players in the team. We are not really favorites here, but we are fighting every match, every point. That’s our team spirit.”

The win wasn’t enough for the Czechs though as Tomas Machac was forced to retire from his singles match against Frances Tiafoe while trailing 6-3, 2-4 to give the Americans an unassailable 3-1 lead. The American mixed doubles team of Pegula and Taylor Fritz then defeated Marie Bouzkova and Jiri Lehecka 2-6, 6-3, 10-7 to give the Americans a 4-1 win.

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