Petra Kvitova upstages Serena Williams in Cincinnati blockbuster

Petra Kvitova reaching for a ball

Petra Kvitova dug deep to overcome Serena Williams in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters.

The eighth-seeded Kvitova came from a break down in the third set to beat the 23-time Grand Slam winner 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in what was only her second win over the American.

Williams broke in the opening game of the third set, but the Czech hit back in the next game and then claimed the decisive break in game six.

“It was a pleasure to share the court with Serena, she’s such a champion,” Kvitova said after the match. “We are both coming back – from injury, from motherhood – so it’s something really special to play her.

“Unfortunately it’s in the second round, but playing a night session against Serena in front of a USA crowd, it’s been great.”

Next up for Kvitova is a third-round clash against Kristina Mladenovic, who beat qualifier Viktoria Kuzmova 6-3, 6-0.

Sixth-seeded Caroline Garcia was too good for former Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka as the Frenchwoman won 6-4, 7-5 while ninth seed Kristina Pliskova also advanced as she secured her first-ever WTA Tour win over Agnieszka Radwanska, winning 6-3, 6-3.

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina was made to work for her win as she claimed a 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova, while Greece’s Maria Sakkari continued her good form as she beat Naomi Osaka from Japan 6-3, 7-6 (10-8).