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Magnificent McHale bags super scalp

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Originally published on: 12/03/12 11:22

Christina McHale probably wishes all tournaments were played in the US as each one of her four top 10 wins have come on home soil. Yesterday she added world No.3 Petra Kvitova to an illustrious list that already includes Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki and Marion Bartoli.

The 19-year-old from New Jersey responded to the roar of the crowd and raised her arms in celebration when Kvitova went down 2-6 6-2 6-3 in the night session at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. “Wherever and anywhere I play in the States, the crowd is always great,” she said. “Especially here, they get so into it. I mean, it’s amazing.”

The American has been slowly working her way up the rankings this past year and currently sits at No.32 but if she can continue beating the big names she won’t be there for long.

She lost a routine first set to the Wimbledon champion and 2011 WTA player of the year, finding no answer to Kvitova’s hefty blows. But she hung in early in the second and then pounced on a loose service game from the Czech at 2-2, winning four straight games and wrapping up an impressive set. She carried that momentum into the third and raced into a 4-1 lead. Kvitova rallied back to 3-4 but couldn’t stop the young American nor the roar of the partisan crowd.

“I just kind of hung in there early in the second set, and then she played one service game where she gave me a couple of loose errors, and then I just kind of kept hanging in there,” McHale said. “It took me a while to get used to her big shots, but I definitely got a lot more comfortable as the match went on. It was definitely one of my biggest wins.”

Kvitova had missed the Middle Eastern tour due to injury and illness and you could clearly see this in the latter stages of the match when she lost energy and movement after a good first set. “I lost a little bit of my fitness so it was tough moving and having winners,” said the Czech, who was still gracious in defeat, praising her opponent’s consistency. “(McHale) was moving very well so she played a lot of shots back,” she said. “She played very solid and didn’t make any mistakes, so it was tough.”

McHale will face No.18 Angelique Kerber of Germany in the fourth round.

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