Tennis: Low-key Kvitova eases into Australian Open third round

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Under-the-radar Czech fourth seed Petra Kvitova cruised into the Australian Open third round on Thursday, with a straight-set win over Germany's Mona Barthel.

Kvitova, the reigning Wimbledon champion, downed world No. 43 Barthel 6-2, 6-4 to reach the third round for the first time since 2012, when she advanced to the semi-finals.

"It's my best (performance) in the past three years, so I have to be happy with that and I'm looking forward to the next match," she said.

Kvitova, who was sensationally dumped out of last year's event in the opening round, admitted she grew frustrated when Barthel attacked her serve in the second set, stretching one game for almost 16 minutes. "I was losing 40-15 (but) I knew I have a good serve and could help myself," she said.

"But 16 minutes, it's almost a record for me. In the end I did it, but Mona played very well in the second set."

Kvitova will meet Madison Keys of the United States next, an opponent she defeated in straight sets in their only previous meeting - in the round of 16 in Tokyo in 2013.