Petra Kvitova knocked off top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 6-4 to charge into the Dubai quarterfinals.
By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Petra Kvitova is still on wrist watch, but relishing her time on court these days.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova knocked off top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 6-4 charging into the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships quarterfinals where she will face 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko.

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Hampered by a wrist injury that has limited her practice in recent weeks, Kvitova said she feels fueled and energized by the return of fans in Dubai and across the pro circuit.

"It's amazing. I have to say I really miss them," Kvitova said. "It doesn't matter where the in the world. I think tennis, it's pretty enjoyable when you do have the atmosphere, you're not playing without the people, like a practice. I mean, it's pretty boring.

"Definitely bringing atmosphere back, it's something which we really wanted. Yeah, I think maybe some players like to play without the people, without the pressure, without this energy. But it's not me. I'm for the people, for sure."

The 2013 Dubai champion has conceded just 10 games in two tournament wins over Sabalenka and Camila Giorgi.

It's been quite a turnaround for the 25th-ranked Kvitova who concedes her wrist injury grew progressively more painful during the Australian swing forcing her to sometimes skip practice to preserve her wrist for match play.

"It wasn't that bad from the beginning, but after my first match in Adelaide, it got just swollen," Kvitova said. "In the end it was inflammation which took me a little while to heal it after coming back from Australia.

"Whole month I actually just play only matches. Yeah, it was a bit tough for me mentally, physically, everything. I probably expect something more from me, of course, as always. It just didn't happen because I couldn't play. It's really tough."

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Now, Kvitova is regaining her health and her range as she takes aim at a 20th career hard-court championship.

"I'm a player who doesn't have to practice like crazy. Still if it's hurting something, I can't play shots, it's different story," Kvitova said. "Yeah, I was pretty upset. But the health is always on the first side.

"It gets better. And I prefer to play some matches instead of practice. That's why I came to St. Pete. Yeah, I just have to take it slowly and not have the big expectations on me."

Photo credit: Getty