Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic kisses the winner’s trophy after her women’s singles final match against Sara Errani of Italy during the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships, yesterday.
DUBAI: Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova scored her biggest success in 15 months when a 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 victory over Sara Errani earned her the Dubai Open title yesterday.
There were moments in the first and third sets when Kvitova looked as though she could become a Grand Slam challenger, but in between she was thankful that she could discover enough mental strength to recover from a rocky mid-match spell.
It means that the fierce-hitting 22-year-old Czech has now won eight of her 10 career titles at Premier or Grand Slam level, a statistic which says something about her capacity for delivering when it matters most.
Italian Errani, who was voted the tour’s most improved player last year, played with surprising courage to abandon her patient rallying in favour of flatter hitting and net attacks.
Although this did not turn the match completely around it did prevent it becoming a rout.
“It was up and down, but I can say I was focussed and calm, which was important after the second set,” said Kvitova.
“It was important to stay in the game and to do my best and to be aggressive.” It was also notable that Kvitova’s resilience was achieved without the services of her coach David Kotyza whom, she said, was on holiday.
“I hope he is happy,” she commented.
“It was something special. I am here alone. Sometimes it is difficult to go on court and think about the game by myself.”
The hard-hitting Czech looked as though she was going to swamp the French Open finalist when she trampled her way through the first four games in 15 minutes and took the first set in little more than half an hour.
During that time Errani, the loser of all six previous sets against Kvitova, managed just a single winner, and looked almost certain to lose two more.
But Errani adapted her tactics well in the second set, taking time away from Kvitova’s brilliant ball-striking.
Then in the fourth game she produced a brilliant lob-approach-stop volley sequence which roused the crowd for the first time and for a while changed the mood of the match.
Kvitova conceded that game with a double fault, delivered another double fault in her next service game, which she also dropped, and began making many more errors, both forced and unforced.
Remarkably Errani chiselled and harried her way to six games in a row, instilling uncertainty into her opponent, and almost breaking serve in the first game of the final set.
By then though Kvitova had taken a comfort break between sets and appeared to have got her head together.
She also regained her timing, and after recovering from love-40 to reach 2-1 and saving two game points in the next game she regained some momentum.
Kvitova finished the match again looking like the player who had beaten three top 12 women previously this week, and had sequences of points when she looked a potential Grand Slam challenger again.
Asked if it had been an up-and-down match, Kvitova commented: “Oh, yeah, I mean, that’s women’s tennis.”
And of the time out she took before the final set, she said: “I was quite down. I mean, I was in the locker room and I was thinking that, really, that I must stay positive - and just play.”AFP