Kvitova gets emotional after return to French Open quarters

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Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic celebrates winning her fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against China's Zhang Shuai in two sets 6-2, 6-4, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS – Petra Kvitova owns two Wimbledon titles, so making it to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the 13th time should not necessarily feel like a big deal to her.

Ah, but this was different. Which is why Kvitova’s emotions swelled and her eyes watered after she beat Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-4 on Monday at the French Open, where she hadn’t reached the round of eight since 2012.

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Poignantly, this was the tournament where Kvitova made her tennis comeback three years ago, following a harrowing knife attack that left her with serious injuries to her racket-swinging left hand and with doubts about whether she’d ever play again.

“My memories. Happy memories. ... Everything just came back to me,” said the No. 7 seed, who next faces Laura Siegemund, a first-time Slam quarterfinalist.

“When I’m talking, I’m getting emotional again. It’s been a long ride, definitely. Everything came to my mind -- my whole family, people who I loved, (who helped) me through the tough, tough time,” Kvitova said. “I don’t know, just everything came back.”


Paris has long been known as one of the culinary capitals of the world.

Not so for Laura Siegemund, at least not on this occasion.

Moments after the German’s 7-5, 6-2 win over Paula Badosa in the fourth round, as Siegemund was gathering her things off her chair, a courtside microphone caught her explaining -- with a curse mixed in -- how distinctly disappointed she was by something her physiotherapist gave her to eat when she felt low on energy.

Siegemund sounded surprised, even amused, when asked at her news conference about it.

“Well, if you guys prefer to talk about the food I was eating, rather than tennis, that’s OK. That’s cool with me,” she said. “There are cameras everywhere and you cannot say anything without anybody noticing it.”

Then she explained her sudden need for quick-fix food — an opportunity she took while her opponent was getting some treatment.

“Probably looks weird having a fork and eating like that, but better than low sugar, anyway,” she said. “I was trying to get some carbs in. I tried the (energy) bar, couldn’t get it down really. So I asked my physio to bring me something else. I just wanted to get some carbs, some potato or rice, whatever.”


French Open quarterfinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas plugged into his YouTube channel during his run to the Australian Open semifinals in 2019. And he likes to update his Instagram account “for all the fans.”

But otherwise, he said after his win over Grigor Dimitrov in Paris on Monday, Tsitsipas tries to steer clear of social media during Grand Slam tournaments.

“I try and avoid using any form or any app that is linked to social media. I think it keeps me more sane,” Tsitsipas said, noting that such platforms “can be very toxic.”

“You don’t want to be thinking about stuff like this,” he said, “when you’re on the court.


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