Petra Kvitova fought back from a set down to beat Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 2-6 6-1 6-1 to give the Czech team the 1-0 lead after the inaugural match of the 2015 Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and Russia at the O2 Arena in Prague.
Kvitova led 6-3 in her previous head-to-head matches against Pavlyuchenkova but six of their previous meets were decided by the third set. The Czech player won their previous clash earlier this year in Madrid.
Both players held their first two service games after eight unforced errors (five for Kvitova and three for Pavlyuchenkova). Pavlyuchenkova broke serve to love in the third game to take the 2-1 lead. The Russian player got the double break to pull away to 4-1 after a double fault and a missed volley from Kvitova.
Kvitova earned three break points at 1-4 but she failed to convert them. She held her serve for 2-5. Pavlyuchenkova served for the set and clinched the first set with a volley winner after 34 minutes. In the first set Kvitova hit six winners to 15 unforced errors
Pavlyuchenkova saved six break points in the second game of the second set. Kvitova converted her 7th break point chance in the game (the 10th in this match) before consolidating the break for 3-0. Kvitova got the double break to pull away to 4-0 before missing three set points in the sixth game. The Czech player closed out the second set with 6-1 with an ace to the delight of the O2 Arena.
Kvitova started the third set with a break of serve as Pavlyuchenkova made a backhand unforced error and a double fault. Kvitova got the double break in the fifth game to race out to 4-1 with a return winner and the 20th unforced error from Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian player has not earned a single break point since the first set. Kvitova held serve and Pavlyuchenkova served to stay in the match. Kvitova sealed the win as Pavlyuchenkova made two consecutive double faults.
Kvitova clinched the 21st win in 23 Fed Cup matches since 2011.
“It was nerves. When I stepped on the court, I was really nervous and I was tight. My legs felt really heavy and I couldn’t move well. That was the key really. It was difficult to turn it around but at the beginning of the second set I held my serve and then I was able to break her. That game was really the key to the second set and the match”, said Kvitova.
Players and fans at the O2 Arena in Prague showed their respect for the victims of the tragic events in Paris with a minute of silence.
Alexander Zverev Fights Back In Thriller To Win Madrid Open
The German battled valiantly to record his third consecutive win over a top 10 player in Madrid and clinch the title for the second time in his career.
Fifth seed Alexander Zverev battled back from two games away from defeat to oust Matteo Berrettini in a marathon clash to win the Madrid Open.
The US Open finalist was pushed to his limits both mentally and physically en route to a 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-3, win over the world No.10 after more than two-and-a-half hours of play. Making it the first time in his career he has won a title on the ATP Tour after dropping the opening set. He now leads Berrettini 3-1 in their head-to-head. In their latest encounter the German hit five aces and 16 winners en route to his 15th ATP trophy and fourth in a Masters event.
MORE TO COME
Matteo Berrettini Says Words From Federer’s Coach Ljubicic Aided Belief In His Game
The Italian is currently on an eight-match winning streak after what has been a bumpy start to the year.
Matteo Berrettini is a win away from his maiden Masters 1000 title at the Madrid Open during what has been a roller-coaster journey on the Tour this season.
The world No.10 started 2020 in good form with high-profile wins over Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut at the ATP Cup. Then at the Australian Open he reached the fourth round for the first time in his career before disaster struck. An abdominal injury forced him to pull out of the Grand Slam and would eventually result in Berrettini being sidelined from the Tour for almost two months.
However, since returning to competitive tennis last month the 25-year-old has managed to win eight out of nine matches played on the clay prior to the title match in Madrid. His only loss was in Monte Carlo to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
“I worked really hard in my pre-season, but I wasn’t feeling like really, really good on the court. But I knew that the work that I’ve done eventually would have paid off somehow,” Berrettini told reporters on Saturday.
“I have to say that since I went to Australia and I started quarantine, the practice and stuff, with my coach we said, ‘Okay, I’m playing good, I’m good.’
“Sometimes it is a matter of mental performance or just that your confidence is building up.”
Berrettini, who reached the semi-finals of the 2019 US Open, credits his team for aiding a growth in his confidence. One particular member he has high praise for is his manager Ivan Ljubicic. A former world No.3 player from Croatia who is a coach for Roger Federer. The Croat has his own management, sponsorship and consulting agency called LJ Sports Group which Berrettini is a member of.
“My manager, Ivan Ljubicic. He helped me in a way. He just told me he really believes in me. That kind of stuff helps, especially because it’s coming from someone who had an unbelievable career. It really helped me in that way,” he said.
Standing in Berrettini’s way of his first Masters 1000 title is former champion Alexander Zverev who is yet to drop a set in the tournament. He is 7-9 against top 10 opposition so far in his career and his first win over a top-10 opponent was Zverev on the clay back in 2019 (in Rome). However, he has lost his two other meetings against the German.
“It’s going to be a challenging match, but I’m in the finals. I guess the best two guys are going to play each other,” he concluded.
Berrettini is only the third Italian man to reach a Masters final since the series was created after Fabio Fognini and Jannik Sinner.
Madrid Open Daily Preview: Sascha Zverev Plays Matteo Berrettini for the Men’s Championship
Three years ago in Madrid, Sascha Zverev won this event, defeating Dominic Thiem in the final. That was Zverev’s third Masters 1000 title, all earned within one year. Sascha’s results at Majors have progressed since that time, though Sascha is yet to achieve his fourth Masters title, despite reaching three further finals. The 24-year-old German has not dropped a set this week, which includes noteworthy back-to-back victories over the two best clay court players of the last five years: Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem.
Three years ago in Gstaad, Matteo Berrettini won his first ATP title, and his first of three on clay. The 25-year-old Italian has claimed a total of four 250-level titles, including one just two weeks ago in Belgrade. But this marks Berrettini’s first time advancing to the final of an event outside the 250 Series, though he notably reached the semifinals of the 2019 US Open. Matteo has taken eight of nine sets played this week, and came back from a set and a break down in the quarterfinals against Cristian Garin, winning the last 11 games of that match.
Sascha Zverev (5) vs. Matteo Berrettini (8) – Not Before 6:30pm
Zverev leads their head-to-head 2-1, though they’ve split their two clay court encounters. At the 2018 Rome Masters, Zverev prevailed. A year later at the same event, Berrettini prevailed. Their only other meeting took place at the 2019 Shanghai Masters, which went to Sascha. All three of their matches have been decided in straight sets.
Including his victories this week over Nadal and Thiem, Zverev is now on a three-match winning streak against top 10 opposition, ending a streak of five consecutive losses against the top 10. Berrettini has only played two matches against the top 10 since the 2019 ATP Finals, as injuries have forced him to miss significant time from the tour. Despite that, he’s now 16-3 this season, and currently on an eight-match win streak.
Zverev certainly has the experience edge in matches of this caliber, and has a bit more variety in his ground game, specifically his backhand. Berrettini will look to dictate play with his powerful forehand. Both players are capable of racking up a high ace tally, though Sascha’s second serve can be a recurring weakness. While we’ve had two consecutive Masters events with first-time 1000-level champions crowned, Zverev should be favored to win his fourth Masters title, and his second in Madrid.
Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (2) vs. Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos (3) – 3:30pm
The men’s doubles championship will also be decided on Sunday. Mektic and Pavic are 32-3 in 2021, and looking to win their sixth title of the season. A few weeks ago in the Monte-Carlo semifinals, they defeated Granollers and Zeballos in a deciding set tiebreak.
Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.
Alexander Zverev Fights Back In Thriller To Win Madrid Open
Marcell Granollers and Horacio Zeballos claim their third Masters 1000 title in Madrid
David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta advance to the second round in Rome
Felix Auger Aliassime Goes The Distance To Win First Match In Rome
Aryna Sabalenka Explains Reason Behind Recent Breakthrough On The Clay
Daria Kasatkina Opens Up About Her Sexuality
(EXCLUSIVE) Q&A With Daria Abramowicz – The Psychologist Behind Iga Switek’s Historic French Open Run
Naomi Osaka And The (Other) Surfaces
Benoit Paire Excluded From Olympics For ‘Deeply Inappropriate Behaviour’
Grand Slam Winner Francesca Schiavone Returns To Tennis As Coach For Top 25 Star
Steve Flink: “Jannik Sinner Will Be a Top 10 Player by the US Open”
(VIDEO) Miami Open Final Preview: Jannik Sinner Is The Favourite But Don’t Underestimate Hurkacz
Steve Flink: “Naomi Osaka Will Win At Least A Dozen Slams”
Steve Flink: “Djokovic and Nadal will end up with more Slams than Federer”
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