MELBOURNE, Australia — Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova recovered from an embarrassing miss and a two-game lapse to beat Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 7-6 (2) on Monday for a spot in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
The 21-year-old Czech was dominant against Ivanovic until her game momentarily came undone near the end of the second set after she missed a routine overhead at the net to allow the former French Open champion to trim her deficit to 5-4.
Kvitova lost the next eight points to fall behind 6-5 — badly missing on a couple of wild groundstrokes — and only managed to force a tiebreaker with two big serves out wide in the 12th game.
Ivanovic’s two double-faults early in the tiebreaker gave Kvitova some easy points and took the pressure off.
The match seemed close to ending much earlier when Kvitova got into perfect position to put away an innocuous lob from Ivanovic but played through the shot too quickly and was hit instead on the body.
“It was a very tough match at the end. I mean it was a really easy point then I thought I got it and I lost eight points in a row,” she said. “I’m very happy I played very well in the tiebreak.”
She’ll next play either Sara Errani of Italy or China’s Zheng Jie, a semifinalist here in 2010.
China’s top hope went out Sunday when French Open champion Li Na wasted four match points before losing to defending champion Kim Clijsters in a rematch of last year’s final.
The fourth-round comeback victory by “Aussie Kim” sent a charge through the crowd before the fans dressed in canary yellow then turned their attention toward supporting one of their own.
Then along came Roger Federer to flatten their hopes.
Federer has won four of his record 16 Grand Slam singles titles at Rod Laver Arena, and he more or less held a clinic Sunday night — a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Bernard Tomic that moved him into the quarter-finals for a 31st consecutive major.
Federer mixed soft, angled drop shots that just cleared the net with crisp groundstrokes that hit the lines and — for good measure — a leaping, backhand overhead.
“It was like boxing in the beginning. You don’t want to take too many chances,” Federer said, explaining why there weren’t any service breaks until the ninth game, when he produced two drop shots for winners with Tomic stranded in the backcourt. “Had one game when I was starting to feel better, next thing you know I’m up a break. Maybe I broke his will there a bit.”
Federer’s quarter-final will be his 1,000th tour-level match. He plays 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, whom he once expected to rise to No. 1.
Clijsters won despite limping on a badly sprained left ankle. She saved four match points in a tiebreaker en route to her 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 win over Li. That put the Belgian veteran on course for a quarter-final against Caroline Wozniacki, who has held the year-end No. 1 ranking the last two seasons without winning a major.
Wozniacki had a 6-0, 7-5 win over former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic and said her confidence is high.
Third-seeded Victoria Azarenka advanced with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Iveta Benesova. She next plays eighth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska.
Rafael Nadal had a convincing win over fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez on Sunday. The 2009 champion’s right knee was heavily wrapped and his left ankle needed to be taped after three games of the first set. Afterward, he said he was fine.
He next plays Tomas Berdych, hoping to avoid a third consecutive quarter-final loss in Melbourne. Berdych beat Nicolas Almagro 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2), then was jeered by the crowd at Hisense Arena after he refused to shake hands with his Spanish rival.