Garbine Muguruza Battles Past Bernarda Pera, Vera Zvonareva Sends Petra Kvitova Packing at Italian Open 2021

Published 05/12/2021, 7:26 AM CDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 12, 2021 Spain’s Garbine Muguruza celebrates winning her third round match against Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake


A tense day for top WTA stars as World No.1o and former Grand Slam champion Petra Kvitova was the latest to bow out in the early rounds of Italian Open 2021. While former World No.1 Garbine Muguruza came back in her match to survive against Bernarda Pera and move ahead.

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Garbine Muguruza completes a turnaround against Bernarda Pera

Muguruza came into the match being a heavy favorite. Both the players were reluctant to take their service games early on. No player could hold on to their services for the first five games. Pera was the first to hold and take the lead, 4-2. Later, Muguruza continued to lose her service game, hence handed the set to Pera. The American served out the set, 6-2.

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Garbine Muguruza of Spain hits a forehand. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Having not won a single service game in the first set, Muguruza first ensured she broke her duck. The Spaniard put in an opposite performance compared to the first set. She quickly wrapped up games and in just 35 minutes bageled Pera to take the second set 6-0.

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Now that Pera didn’t push much in the second set, she started the third set well. The American quickly broke Muguruza twice to take a 4-1 lead and looked towards the finish line. However, Muguruza still had a comeback up her sleeve and won the next four games to take the lead back, 5-4. Here, Pera had to serve to stay in the match, and she did it comfortably the first time. But the second time at 6-5, she succumbed to Muguruza’s pressure and lost. Muguruza took the match – 2-6, 6-0, 7-5.

Petra Kvitova struggles against Vera Zvonareva at Italian Open 2021

Kvitova wasn’t far ahead of 113th ranked Zvonareva as expected. In her first service game itself, she lost her serve. Zvonareva was troubling Kvitova a lot. But given the unpredictable nature of the tournament, a lot of break points were exchanged. Everyone’s serve advantage was neutralized because of the surface. By 5-2, four breaks of serve were traded between the players with Kvitova’s three. Serving at 5-2, Zvonareva gave a break back but later served out the set at 5-4 to clinch it 6-4.

Petra Kvitova in action during her first round match against Poland’s Magda Linette REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Kvitova continued her troubled serve as she lost the first game of the second set. But Zvonareva gave it back to her, and the set was even at 1-1. From here, Kvitova got back in the match. She was cautious and served decently to put a little pressure on her opponent. Zvonareva was broken again at 3-2 and now Kvitova was on the driving seat. The two-time Wimbledon champion was back in the match by winning the second set 6-3.

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Taking the momentum from the second set, Kvitova took an early 2-0 lead. But Zvonareva wasn’t giving up either. She stood her ground to toil with Kvitova and made a comeback to take the next five games and lead 5-2. Kvitova served to stay in the match but was barely hanging on as Zvonareva saw her first match point. But the topsy-turvy nature of the match continued as Zvonareva was instead broken and the set was back on serve. However, Kvitova’s run finally came to an end after she lost her serve at 5-4 and Zvonareva took the win on her third match point.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1077 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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