Petra Kvitova erased a pair of match points and converted her fourth to edge Garbiñe Muguruza 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (12-10) in a showdown between two-time major champions.
Kvitova reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the seventh time. She last made it to the U.S. Open quarterfinals in 2017.
She kept coming back — after dropping the first set, after trailing 5-2 in the third, after being a point from defeat twice at 6-5.
Here’s how close this one was: Kvitova won 109 total points, Muguruza 108.
It took the new format final-set tiebreaker to determine the winner.
The four Grand Slam tournaments agreed to adopt a uniform system this year, with the third sets of women’s matches and fifth sets of men’s decided by a first-to-10, win-by-two formula; the U.S. Open used to have the more traditional first-to-seven setup.
Kvitova, a left-hander who won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, overcame 12 double-faults with 14 aces and 50 total winners. She improved to 6-1 against No. 9 seed Muguruza, the champion at the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017.
No. 21 Kvitova next will face No. 8 Jessica Pegula, who beat qualifier Yuan Yue 6-2, 6-7 (8), 6-0.
Pegula reached the fourth round at the U.S. Open for the first time by beating qualifier Yuan Yue 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-0 in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The eighth-seeded Pegula wasted a chance to close it out when she held a match point in the tiebreaker but rolled through the third set in a half-hour.
Pegula, a 28-year-old American whose parents own the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, finished with nearly twice as many winners as Yuan, 35-18.
Pegula came into Saturday with a 0-2 record in third-round matches at Flushing Meadows, losing at that stage to Kvitova in 2020 and to Belinda Bencic in 2021.
Pegula started her Grand Slam career by going 3-8. She’s gone 22-7 since, including runs to quarterfinals at the Australian Open each of the past two years and the French Open this year.
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