The emotional outburst from Petra Kvitova on winning the match point said it all. It had been a hard year for the two-time Wimbledon winner. She hadn’t progressed beyond the third round at any of the three Slams so far this season and her best result has been a semi-final appearance at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart on clay.
Needless to say, the Czech was under all sorts of pressure to prove to herself and to her large legion of fans.
Even at the Rio Olympics 2016, she lost to an inspired World No. 34 Monica Puig during the semi-finals which surely did not do much to boost her confidence.
But on Saturday, the World No. 14 survived a 2 hours 12 minutes roller-coaster to beat the in-form World No. 9 American Madison Keys, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 to claim the bronze for her country.
The score itself proves that it was a hard-fought match as it was supposed to be. Keys and Kvitova are two of the biggest attacking players on the WTA Tour right now and it was expected that neither would go down without a fight.
Their head-to-head record of two wins apiece also made this encounter a much-awaited mouthwatering clash.
Keys was just 2/10 on break points
The 21-year-old Keys was the aggressor and her racquet produced a barrage of 24 winners to Kvitova’s 12. But the American also undid all her good work with 49 unforced errors, 11 more than the Czech.
Her failure to grab the big points made all the difference in this match as she could convert just two out of the 10 break points on offer.
Keys had her first break point as early as the fourth game in the first set but she could not make any in-roads into the Czech’s game. She had two crucial break points again – which were set points – when Kvitova was serving at 4-5 to stay in the set.
That became pivotal as Kvitova wasted no opportunity to break Keys’ serve after surviving that game and soon took the opener 7-5.
With her back against the wall, the American youngster produced some brilliant shotmaking to finally convert two break points and level the tie.
Kvitova put up a brilliant show in the decider
However, her joy was short-lived. A resurgent Kvitova bounced back in style to break Keys in the very first game of the decider. The Kvitova charge was then unstoppable and ruthless. She broke yet again to soar to a 4-0 lead, giving ample flashes of her amazing talent.
It was only a matter of time before the former World No. 2 would go on to wrap up the proceedings and get her maiden Olympic medal.