Petra Kvitova defeated top seed Aryna Sabalenka in Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
Petra Kvitova defeated top seed Aryna Sabalenka in Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Petra Kvitova is aiming to use her victory over No. 1 seed Aryna Sabalenka at the Dubai Duty free Tennis Championships as a springboard to vault her back to the top of the game.

The Czech defeated the world No. 2 convincingly on Centre Court in Garhoud on Wednesday evening, taking 85 minutes to overcome Sabalenka 6-4, 6-4 and set up a clash with Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko in the quarter-finals.

And now she is aiming for a run at the title here to help her return to the top table of tennis, where the two-time Wimbledon champion once sat as high as No. 2 herself, before injury problems saw her slide down to her current rank of 25.

“This is my first quarter-final of the year, so I’m happy with that,” she said after her victory. “I have to take it very slowly. I didn’t play my best. Everything I’m taking like a bonus for right now and I’m really looking forward.

“There are a lot of things I want to improve if I am to get back to the top but I know I can play my best. At 31 I am still learning this time, this match, I would say yes, the pressure was a little bit better. On the other hand I’m like, Oh my god, it’s the second round, I’m playing first seeded, it’s not good. I’m not getting used to it.”

Kvitova admitted that things can get a little easier when you are unseeded, as she is this week, but the desire is still their to climb the rankings.

“The pressure was a little bit better today, I suppose,” she said. “On the other hand I’m like: ‘Oh my god, it’s the second round and I am playing the top seed — that’s not good.’ I’m not getting used to that.

“But that is my ranking right now and I have to come back somehow. If I want to come back, I have to beat some seeded players. There’s no question about it.

“It’s challenging because from the first round you have great players. But as we saw today, I mean, everything is possible. Of course, in women tennis, it’s pretty open. Maybe it will be better because I always play a little bit better against better ranking players. Maybe it could be good for me in the end.”