Kvitova takes her chances to down Rybakina in Adelaide

tennis09 January 2023 07:36| © Reuters
Petra Kvitova © Gallo Images

Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova ousted the current holder of the All England Club title Elena Rybakina 6-3 7-5 in the opening round of the Adelaide International 2 on Monday to continue her winning start in the new season.

Preparing for her 15th visit to the Australian Open where she was a finalist in 2019, Czech Kvitova pounced on her one break opportunity to claim opening set in just over half an hour.

The second set of the contest was just as tight with no break points until the 11th game when Kvitova earned two and converted the second for a 6-5 lead with a blistering forehand return.

The 32-year-old, who beat world No 3 Jessica Pegula while representing her country at the United Cup last week, served out for the match to set up a second round clash with American Shelby Rogers or China's Qinwen Zheng.

"I was trying to wait for my chance to see if I could break her," said the world number 16.

"My serve worked really well today, so I'm happy with that. I came here playing well so I'm glad I continued that today."

The top three women in the world were all late withdrawals from the second Adelaide tournament with Pegula citing a change of schedule and Iga Swiatek (shoulder) and Ons Jabeur (back) both nursing injuries.

The top remaining seed, France's Caroline Garcia, was given a bye into the second round.

The other women's warm-up for the Australian Open this week is the Hobart Open, which returns after a two-year hiatus caused by the Covid pandemic.

Qualifier Lauren Davis opened the tournament with an upset of out-of-sorts fourth seed and former US Open champion Sloane Stephens, easing past her fellow American 6-2 6-2.

"I'm really happy with how I handled the elements, it was pretty gusty out there," said Davis.