By Toby Davis
PARIS (Reuters) - Fourth seed Petra Kvitova moved into the French Open fourth round with a 6-2 4-6 6-1 victory over Russian Nina Bratchikova on Saturday, but the Czech was forced to toil in the piercing Parisian sunshine.
Peppering the baseline with a series of snappy and accurate groundstrokes, the physically imposing Kvitova had looked to be on course for a smooth passage into the next round when she claimed the first set in just 28 minutes.
The Russian, however, upped her intensity in the second, pouncing on Kvitova's increasingly frequent errors and breaking twice for a 5-1 lead.
The Czech, who has never been past the fourth round at Roland Garros, regained the momentum at the end of the set, breaking back before Bratchikova closed it out to force the match into a decider.
Having looked short on ideas at the start of the second, Kvitova swarmed all over the Russian to close out the encounter with a double break.
"I started well, I was very aggressive and I knew what I had to play," Kvitova told reporters.
"In the second set... she played much better than first.
"She had a better serve, and it was tough to return. She had pressure from the first shot that she played.
"So I was running from side to side and it's not my game. So I had to change and be aggressive and push her back a little bit.
"I have to say that she played very well."
She will now play the Varvara Lepchenko of the United States who came through a pulsating three-set encounter against 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone.
(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Pritha Sarkar)