The Wimbledon champion unleashed her powerful serve and stinging ground strokes to see off a determined Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 7-6 (7/2), but not before an embarrassing air-swing that left the 22-year-old Czech decidedly red-faced.
Under-pressure Ivanovic was serving at 3-5 to stay in the match when she threw up a despairing defensive lob from behind the baseline. Kvitova moved in for the kill but somehow missed the simple smash, and the ball hit her in the chest.
Petra Kvitova at Australian Open. Pic/AFP.
Ivanovic held serve and then broke the suddenly misfiring Kvitova to force a tiebreak, but the world number two recovered to dominate the breaker and reach the quarter-finals in an ultimately impressive victory. "It was a really easy point and I missed it, actually I don't know why," a bemused Kvitova said afterwards.
"I don't know if it's the worst (shot) in my career. It happened, I don't care really about it. I know that it looked really strange when I missed it, but anyway, I won, which is the important thing."
The tall left-hander broke Ivanovic twice in the first set and once in the second, and after forcing the tiebreak with some big serves she took control, quickly opening a 6-2 lead and sealing it on an Ivanovic error.
"I'm lucky that I played at 11 o'clock," she said, referring to the hot conditions at Melbourne Park. "I am happy that I won the second set because in the end it was very tough to come back. I am lucky that I'm not playing a third set."