The 28-year-old showed the type of form that saw her triumph in Paris in the 2009 final as she dumped out the fifth-seeded Kvitova 6-7 (3-7) 6-1 9-7 in a gruelling three-hour contest.
In a match that saw momentum frequently shift, Kuznetsova – who meets Lucie Safarova in round four – stated that in the lead up to the showdown her main intention was to give 100 per cent, regardless of the outcome.
“I knew I was going out there, and I was going to give everything I could,” the 27th seed said. “I was going to run every mile, every metre I could, put as many balls back and, if I got the chance, try to be aggressive.
“This last thing wasn’t always easy, because if you watch the match, Petra was inside the court and I was next to the fans.
“But I just tried my best. I didn’t think about winning or losing. For me it was only about giving my best, which I think I did. I left out there, everything I could, and in the end I came up with a win.
“I was very close to the loss, as well – I was very strong mentally and really happy with that side of my game.”
Kvitova was hampered by a heavily strapped thigh, for which she had two medical timeouts.
Despite seemingly not being fully fit the Czech had built a 3-1 lead in the decider, but the 24-year-old was gracious in defeat and credited her opponent.
“In the past couple of weeks she’s playing very well on the clay,” Kvitova said. “And of course she loves to play here – she’s a past champion, and she played the final here another year, I think.
“I knew she was going to be dangerous here more than anywhere else.”
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