The Spaniard, who made the same stage in 2021 at the grasscourt Grand Slam, will next meet the last remaining former Wimbledon champion in the women’s draw, Romanian Simona Halep, for a place in the quarter-finals.
“Petra is a champion and for me one of the biggest challenges is to play Petra on grass,” Badosa said on court. “Today, being able to play against her it was already a pleasure and you can’t imagine how I feel after this win. For me it’s unbelievable.
“I remember in 2014 I came here to play juniors and one of the first matches I watched was on Centre Court, Petra winning Wimbledon. So you can imagine, for me stepping on Centre Court for the first time playing against a legend like her is really, really special. She’s been an inspiration for me in my career.”
A win against Halep would see Badosa match her best performance at a Grand Slam when she reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros in 2021.
Badosa came into Saturday’s contest having lost her only previous match-up against 25th seed Kvitova and without a win in all six career matches against seeded players on grasscourts.
Kvitova, who won the grasscourt major in 2011 and 2014, looked at home on Centre Court and dominated proceedings early on, taking a 5-3 lead against the 24-year-old Spaniard and serving for the opening set at 5-4.
But Badosa managed to lift her game and rallied to win four games in a row to take the set as the Czech’s unforced errors started creeping up.
Kvitova had nine breakpoint opportunities on Badosa’s delivery in the second set but the Spaniard staved off all of them to hold on to her serve and take it to a tiebreaker.
She nosed ahead early in the tiebreaker and then sealed the contest on her second matchpoint when Kvitova sent a forehand return long — the Czech’s 31st unforced error in the match.