By Jack Cunniff
New Haven Open – Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Summary of Wednesday evening second round action at the Connecticut Tennis Center in New Haven:
Second Round: (2) Petra Kvitova def. Nicole Gibbs, 6-2, 6-4
The tale of the tape in this match looked like a blowout: world No. 5 Kvitova against No. 312 Gibbs. But while the final result was never really in doubt, the reigning NCAA singles and doubles champion Gibbs was able to put up a fight.
Gibbs stayed even in the first set until a long service game at 2-3. She dodged three break points from the former Wimbledon titlist, until Kvitova smacked a backhand return of serve crosscourt on the fourth break point to gain a 4-2 advantage. Kvitova went on a streak, winning six of seven games to lead 6-2, 4-1. Suddenly, as is often the case with Kvitova, she went away long enough for Gibbs to catch up. At 4-4 in the second, Kvitova hit three winners and a 100mph ace to regain the lead and put the pressure back on the American. In another long game, Gibbs was able to move beautifully around the court to hold off three match points, but the power of Kvitova was too much in the end. Kvitova advances to her fifth consecutive quarterfinal appearance, 6-2, 6-4.
In the short-term, both Kvitova and Gibbs will be headed to Flushing Meadow to play in the 2012 U.S. Open, but their paths diverge from there. Gibbs plans to return to Stanford for her junior year, although she intends to try to play some professional events, while balancing a full class load. Kvitova, meanwhile, has titles to defend in Linz, Austria, the Tour Championships in Istanbul, and leading the Czech Fed Cup team at home against Serbia in the finals.
Around the Grounds – Wednesday August 22nd:
Nicole Gibbs on the quality of college tennis: “I would say at the top level of college tennis, there are a lot of similarities. Otherwise I don’t think I could compete as well at the professional level. It’s definitely a great training ground for the playing professionally just because of the quantity of matches that you get in, and you’re playing back to back, you learn how to get your fitness up. There are definitely differences, playing Kvitova is different than playing any girl on the college tour, but I think it’s been very valuable for me to train at the college level.”… Both players who won the 2012 U.S. Open National Playoff at the Connecticut Tennis Center this weekend lost in the opening round of U.S. Open Qualifying Wednesday. Alexandra Mueller of the United States fell to Beatriz Garcia Vidagany of Spain, 7-5, 6-4, and Clement Reix of France was eliminated by Japan’s Hiroki Moriya, 6-1, 6-3… Time to rethink marketing dollars? When asked about her chances to clinch the U.S. Open Series title with her New Haven result, Petra Kvitova responded, “I’m not caring really about the U.S. Open Series, I’m just looking at the next match.”… Rivalry renewed: The quarterfinal pairing between No. 3 seed Caroline Wozniacki and No. 6 seed Dominika Cibulkova will mark the eleventh time that the two have met, including two other encounters in New Haven, both won by Wozniacki. While the four-time defending champion Wozniacki leads the head-to-head by a 7-3 margin, the last four matches have been split evenly between the two.
Jack Cunniff is covering the New Haven Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. His personal twitter is @JRCunniff.