TENNIS WTA WUHAN – Petra Kvitova beat Eugenie Bouchard 6-3 6-4 in the final of the WTA Premier 5 Tournament in Wuhan to become the fourth player to book the ticket for the WTA Finals in Singapore. Diego Sampaolo
The first edition of the edition of the WTA Premier 5 Tournament in Wuhan, the home city of retired Chinese star Li Na featured a re-match between this year’s Wimbledon finalists Petra Kvitova and Eugenie Bouchard.
Last July Kvitova lifted her second Wimbledon title by defeating the Canadian rising star 6-3 6-0 in just 55 minutes. This time the Czech player won again in straight sets with 6-3 6-4 clinching her third title after Wimbledon and New Haven.
Kvitova won her third head-to-head match against Bouchard playing a perfect match on serve.
Kvitova got the decisive in the second game of the first set as Bouchard committed two unforced errors followed by a double fault and clinched the first set with 6-3. In the first set Kvitova hit 12 winners to 7 unforced errors in the opening set. Bouchard produced six winners to 8 unforced errors
Kvitova got a early break in the second set. At 3-2 Kvitova Bouchard earned two break point chances for 15-40 following a double fault by Kvitova. The Czech player saved the first break point chance when sent a backhand return into the net and the second with a forehand winner.
In the seventh game Kvitova got a double break for 5-2 and served for the match. She faced some stiff opposition in the next game of the second set when she got a match point but missed a backhand into the net.
Bouchard earned six break points before saving a match point and getting a break to force the match to the tenth game. At 5-4 Kvitova served for the match to wrap it up in 1 hour and 20 minutes
Kvitova hit 30 winners to 18 unforced errors and converted three of her five break point chances, while Bouchard produced 12 winners to 16 unforced errors and converted only one of her eight break points.
Kvitova has reached the WTA Finals for the fourth time in a row becoming the fourth player to book a berth for the end-of-season tournament after Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep. After winning the end-of-season title in her magic 2011 season, she failed to get through the round robin and reached the semifinal last year in the three editions which were held in Istanbul.
“I had a great week in Wuhan. From the beginning my season was very tough. If somebody had told me that I would win Wimbledon and still be fighting for Singapore, I am not sure I would have believed them. But I have had a great second part of the season. It all started a little bit at the French Open and from then on I just kept on improving. It was really difficult to take the loss in the first round at the Australian Open but I kept working hard.”
Kvitova played a great tournament in which she swept aside Caroline Garcia (the revelation of the week) with 6-3 6-4 in the quarter final before beating Ukrainian unseeded player Elina Svitolina with 6-3 7-5 in the semifinal.
Svitolina produced a major upset in the quarter final when sh knocked out Angelique Kerber with a 6-4 7-6 win in the quarter final
Bouchard, who reached the semifinal at the Australian Open and at the Roland Garros and the final at Wimbledon, will move up to Number 8 in the WTA Ranking.
In Wuhan Bouchard confirmed her status as one of the biggest revelations of this year with two outstanding wins over Alizé Cornet with 6-3 7-5 in the quarter final and this year’s US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki with 6-2 6-3 in the semifinal. Earlier this week Wozniacki fought back from a set down to overcome Swiss surprise Timea Bacsinszky in three sets with 4-6 6-2 6-3 in the quarter final. Bacsinkiy scored the biggest of her career when she upset Maria Sharapova on Wednesday.
The Swiss player was the major surprise of the week together with French players Alizé Cornet and Caroline Garcia.
Cornet overcame Serena Williams when the US star had to withdraw late in the first set because of a viral illness. Garcia scored two back-to-back wins over Venus Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska.
Flavia Pennetta and Martina Hingis won their first WTA doubles title as a team with a 6-4 5-7 12-10 win over Caroline Garcia and Cara Black.
Pennetta and Hingis, who finished runner-up in Eastbourne and at the US Open doubles final earlier this month, cruised to a 6-4 5-3 lead in the second set but Black and Garcia saved four match points en route to winning the second set with 7-5.
In the third set Garcia and Black earned two match points at 9-8 and 10-9 in the second set but Pennetta and Hingis saved them. Pennetta hit a backhand volley into the corner to save the second match point. The Italian-Swiss team sealed the win with 12—10 with a big serve.
Pennetta and Hingis, who are currently ranked 12th in the Road to Singapore Ranking, will move up just outside the top-eight next week and could have a good chance to qualify for the WTA Finals in the doubles in Singapore.
Simona Halep wins the all Romanian battle in Cluj
Simona Halep is into the second round in Cluj after a dominant performance.
The world number 18 and the top seed managed to beat her Romanian counterpart in straight sets.
Simona Halep is through round one of the Transylvania Open, being played at the BT Arena in Cluj-Napoca, after beating a fellow Romanian Elena Gabriella Ruse in straight sets 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 13 minutes.
The number one seed served six aces and won 83% of her first serve points in a match that seemed one-sided and Halep was pulling amazing shots and winners throughout the entire match.
“It’s not easy to face a Romanian in the first round of a Romanian tournament but I was very focused and concentrated on what I have to do and I didn’t really think of who I would play, I just wanted to play my game and I felt great on court today.”
It was actually the world 85 with the first breakpoint of the match in the first game but it was denied when Halep stepped up to the service line and fired an ace to save it.
After holding serve the world number 18 started looking for the early lead and she was able to get it after a poor service game from Ruse and after consolidating the break managed to turn it into a double break.
Halep served out the first set in a mere 29 minutes and it was clear she was the better player today.
She continued to ride the momentum into the second set and at 1-1 earned three more chances to break and broke with a stunning return winner that caught Ruse off guard for the 2-1 lead.
At 4-2, the top seed managed to go up a double break with another amazing passing shot and she served out the match and after the match in her post-match press conference, she spoke about pulling off those amazing shots on breakpoints.
“When I have a chance to do it I always do because I love these kinda shots and today it was a great one so it made me very happy.”
Halep will next face the Russian Varvara Gracheva in the next round after she beat the German Andrea Petkovic in three sets 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 on Tuesday night.
Anett Kontaveit overpowers Krunic in Cluj-Napoca
Anett Kontaveit took a step towards the WTA Finals with a straight sets win in Cluj today.
The number two seed only needed two sets and 70 minutes to beat her Serbian opponent.
Anett Kontaveit is through to the second round of the Transylvania Open, being played at the BT Arena in Cluj-Napoca, beating the Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 10 minutes.
The world number 14 served two aces and won 69% of the points on her first serve in a match where she seemed to outhit her opponent using her powerful groundstrokes.
“The match was close and it was only break in the first set and I thought I was playing pretty well and winning a lot of points on my first serve but I actually think she served well and it wasn’t an easy match and the second set got really close”.
The Estonian had the better start to the match holding serve in her opening game and putting pressure on the Serb right away earning two chances to break serve and got the early break to take a 2-0 lead.
That one break was enough for Kontaveitt to serve out the first set and take it 6-3.
The second set was a more competitive affair and it stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Tallinn, Estonia native was able to break the Serb at love to take a 3-2 lead and she was able to consolidate the break.
It stayed on serve until 4-3 when the world number 44 fought back and was able to break the Estonian serve and the set went back on serve. Once again both players did a good job holding serve until 5-5 when Kontaveit got the crucial break of serve and served out the match.
After the match in her post-match press conference, Kontaveit spoke about how she was feeling energy-wise after such a short turnaround time from winning the title in Moscow last week.
” I feel like the energy has dropped a little bit but I did manage to bring some of the energy today and still be active and be aggressive.”
Kontaveit will now face Alison Van Uytvanck in her next match after the Belgian beat Danka Kovinic in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day.
Emma Raducanu battles back to beat Hercog in Cluj
Emma Raducanu won her first match on the WTA tour after beating Polona Hercog in Cluj.
The US Open champion was pushed to the limit in a three-set win over her Slovenian opponent.
Emma Raducanu is through to round two at the Transylvania Open in Cluj-Napoca after beating the Slovenian Polona Hercog in three sets 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in a match that lasted two hours and 27 minutes.
The Brit served four aces and won 75% of her first serve points in a match that went back and forth for all three sets and had a rollercoaster feel to it and it was the first time at tour-level Raducanu played a three-set match.
“I feel really happy to have won that match it was actually very difficult and I wasn’t playing my best tennis but Polona (Hercog) is a great opponent and she is really experienced so I really had to fight hard to pull that one through.”
After holding serve in the opening service game of the match the world number 23 put pressure on Hercog’s serve right away and in a game that lasted 10 minutes, it took the Brit six break points before she was able to get the first break of serve of the match.
It stayed on serve until 4-2 when the world number 124 struck back and managed to get the break back to go back on serve and at 4-4 got the crucial break needed to serve out the first set.
The second set stayed on serve with the 18-year-old getting the first chance to break at 2-1 but Hercog saved all three break points she faced and at 4-4 it was the Slovenian applying pressure and looking for the break.
Raducanu was able to save it and hold serve and at 6-5, she found herself at set point as she managed to win it to force a third and deciding set.
Winning the second set seemed to give the Britt a boost and the motivation to keep fighting and she managed to get the early break to take a 2-0 lead and at 3-0 broke again to go up a double break.
The next game she found herself at match point but the world number 124 was able to save it and the next game Raducanu serve out the match. In her post-match press conference, she spoke about what the key was to turn the match around.
“It feels like a huge win for me and it’s my first WTA tour win which makes me very happy and I think the key was to stay mentally composed and I knew myself I wasn’t playing very well so I just needed to keep going one point at a time and I am really proud of myself how I fought today.”
Raducanu will face a Romanian in her next match on Thursday in Ana Bogden who beat the Serb Ivana Jorovic on Monday and this will be their first-ever meeting.
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