California: Erratic serving cost Petra Kvitova dearly as the fifth-seeded Czech was knocked out of the BNP Paribas Open by Russian Maria Kirilenko on Wednesday, losing 4-6 6-4 6-3 in the quarter-finals. Left-hander Kvitova double-faulted 13 times during an error-strewn match which ended after almost two-and-a-half hours when the 2011 Wimbledon champion sent a forehand long on a steaming hot afternoon at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Kirilenko, who won her sixth WTA singles title at Pattaya City last month, screamed in delight while pumping her fists in celebration after extending her unbeaten record this year in three-set matches to 6-0. "Finally I reach the semi-finals," a jubilant Kirilenko said courtside after reaching the last four at Indian Wells for the first time in the elite WTA event. "It is my 10th time playing here. "I am really happy I won this match. I had some problems with my knee in the first set but I was able to fight through."
The 13th-seeded Russian will next meet either compatriot Maria Sharapova, the second seed, or sixth-seeded Italian Sara Errani who were playing their quarter-final later on Wednesday. Kirilenko, who had upset third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the previous round, broke Kvitova in the sixth game of the opening set but then failed to hold her serve in the seven and ninth games as the Czech took early control.
Kvitova seized an early 4-2 lead in the second set but her power game became increasingly erratic before she lost the set in unusual circumstances when, serving at 4-5 and 15-0, she made four successive double faults for the Russian to level. The final set went with serve until the sixth game when the Czech again failed to hold. After breaking back in the seventh with a rasping forehand winner down the line, Kvitova lost serve in the eighth with her 13th double fault of the match.
Serving for the match, Kirilenko began poorly to trail 0-30 but won the next four points on three Kvitova unforced errors to wrap up the win and improve her record against the Czech to 4-3. Asked how she had come back from 0-30 down in that final game, the Russian replied: "I just said to myself, 'Hit your serve as hard as you can because she is hitting the ball as if she doesn't care.' And I did."