INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova survived 10 double faults and an erratic second set to beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-4 3-6 6-3 in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday.
The big-serving Czech, seeded fifth in the elite WTA event at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, sealed victory after a marathon encounter lasting two hours and 21 minutes when a Govortsova forehand sailed wide.
Kvitova, who clinched her 10th WTA singles title in Dubai last month, will next face Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko, a 6-1 3-6 6-1 winner over Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova earlier in the day.
In mainly overcast and blustery conditions at the California desert venue, the opening set went with serve until world number seven Kvitova was surprisingly broken in the fifth game, after double-faulting, to trail 2-3.
However, the pony-tailed Czech immediately broke back, then steadily took control before clinching the set in 49 minutes with a rasping forehand service return as the Belarusian lost serve for a second time.
Govortsova, ranked 67th, took advantage of Kvitova’s serving troubles in the second set, breaking her opponent in the third and ninth games to level the match.
But the left-handed Czech, who claimed her first grand slam crown at Wimbledon in 2011, recovered form in the third, breaking Govortsova’s serve in the seventh and ninth games to wrap up the win.
In other matches on Friday, Italy’s Roberta Vinci brushed aside Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan 6-3 6-4 and Sweden’s Johanna Larsson beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5 6-1.
Later in the day, Russian world number three Maria Sharapova was scheduled to face Italy’s Francesca Schiavone while third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland was down to play American teenager Maria Sanchez.
Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who demolished Sharapova 6-2 6-3 in last year’s BNP Paribas Open final, will launch her title defense in the second round on Saturday.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Julian Linden