Petra Kvitova wins the Mutua Madrid Open title for a third time - UBITENNIS
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Petra Kvitova wins the Mutua Madrid Open title for a third time

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Mutua Madrid Open - Day Eight

 

Petra Kvitova (zimbio.com)

Petra Kvitova is the Mutua Madrid Open champion for a record breaking third time after finally seeing off the spirited challenge of Kiki Bertens 7-6 (6) 4-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 52 minutes of mercurial tennis.

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova (zimbio.com)

Having missed out on playing last year while recovering from surgery to her left hand following a stabbing incident by an intruder in her home at the end of 2016, Kvitova’s return as Madrid Open champion could hardly have been any sweeter.

It was not a match of the highest quality, maybe the cool and breezy conditions had something to do with it. Kvitova, seeded and ranked 10, made 58 unforced errors and 39 winners, while the unseeded Bertens was a little less erratic with 48 unforced errors and 32 winners. In the end, the better player won, but she made heavy weather of it.

The one and only time these two had faced off, Kvitova totally destroyed Bertens 6-1 6-0 on the lush grass courts of Wimbledon in 2015 in a mere 36 minutes. Today’s marathon encounter could hardly have been any more different.

Kvitova was all too often ending points with a winner or an unforced error, with Bertens playing the more consistent and balanced percentage tennis.

Both players had break point chances early on, but it was Bertens who broke first to move 4-2 ahead when an errant Kvitova forehand went wide. Kvitova broke straight back however, and with games going with serve thereafter, the set would be settled by a tiebreak.

Kvitova found herself two set points up after a couple of unforced errors from her opponent, and although she was unable to close it out as Bertens fought her way back to parity, the Czech left hander screamed in relief and elation when a Bertens backhand found the net on the third set point. The Dutch woman tossed her racket across the court in disgust at the loss of the 74 minute set which she could well have won.

At the changeover, Kvitova finally decided to put on a long sleeved sweater to counter the cold conditions, and she suddenly began to play more consistently off the ground and on serve. As the sliding roof closed overhead, Kvitova held serve in the fifth game saving two break points, but it seemed as if the warmer indoor conditions suited Bertens more as the Dutch woman began to play more purposefully. She broke the Kvitova serve in the seventh game as the Czech went long on her forehand. She held serve from there, closing out the set 6-4 with an ace.

As in the first set, both women had early break point chances in the opening games of the final set, but failed to capitalise. Kvitova broke for 4-2 when Bertens double faulted after the Czech had set up the break point with a forehand pass that clipped the sideline. Kvitova’s jubilation was short lived as she immediately dropped serve when she drove a backhand into the net to the Dutch woman’s delight, after Bertens had set up the break point with a perfectly executed backhand drop shot winner.

In the next game, Kvitova set up two break points with a humdinger of a forehand winner up the line, she failed to convert, but got a third chance which Bertens saved with an ace. She finally broke on a fourth opportunity and served for the match at 5-3. She wasted no time in closing out the match to love as Bertens mistimed backhand found the tramlines.

“It feels sweet and weird as well”, Kvitova said when asked by a reporter how it felt to return as a three – time champion after not being able to play last year. “I didn’t really expect that, even (after) the same time last year and even coming after winning Prague last week, I didn’t really think that I could be in the final and winning the trophy back to back. My body is very exhausted so I’m pretty surprised that my body could handle it somehow. Every title feels great, winning three times here in Madrid means something, it’s not really happening every day, so I’m very proud of myself.”

“It’s great to see her playing so well”, Kvitova said concerning Bertens. “She’s a great person and I really like her. It’s nice to see her playing like that. The last time we played on the grass it was a little bit different. She has improved a lot and she loves to play on clay. She just won Charleston and I remember when she is playing Roland Garros, she is always playing great. Obviously, she has a forehand with a lot of topspin which puts her opponent so far behind the baseline which makes it very difficult to put pressure on her and she can do whatever she wants with her forehand and she moves a player so well and she has great hands, so she can do a lot of slices and drops shots. She has a great body serve, and when she is at the net she has almost won the point and she hardly ever misses. So she is really difficult to play on the clay and now those matches on the clay are really  painful. She is finding her serve as well in the important moments and speed wise it’s a great serve and with the kick on the second serve. She is moving very well and she is sliding to the shots and putting the ball back like a metre from the baseline. It’s difficult to do anything from those balls.”

Kvitova announced that she would not play Rome.

“I’m pretty exhausted so I need to pull out from Rome”, she said. Like wonder given her heroics over the past two weeks, winning Prague and Madrid back to back on her least favourite surface. However, she still refuses to consider herself a title contender at Roland Garros. “I’ve been to the semi-final there one year and probably I can play well there, but I know how really tough it is. Winning Prague and here has made me very happy, but on the other hand it’s a Grand Slam and it’s a different story. Different atmosphere and different balls. I will try and play better than the last time, but I don’t want to put any pressure on myself anyway. I think there are maybe better players playing on the clay, so we’ll see what happens over there.

Bertens had come so close to winning the biggest title of her life, but she gave it everything she had and lost to the better player in the end.

I think it was a great final”, Bertens said. “I think in the beginning we were both a little bit nervous and trying to find our games. I think it was really a good fight back from me in the second set and I played really well. Then I had some chances at the beginning of the third set but I didn’t take it. But Petra was playing some unbelievable shots there, so credit to her today.”

I think I can be really proud of myself and seeing where I am coming from. Just playing at the level that I played today was quite OK for such a big final, I think I made pretty big steps in that. Of course it really hurts right now, I think you can see that, but maybe tomorrow or nest week, or in a few weeks I can really look back on a great week and know I’m on the right way.”

 

 

 

 

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Caroline Wozniacki To Face Serena Williams In Farewell Match

Details have been released about a special event that will take place in honour of the former world No.1.

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After announcing her retirement from tennis at the start of next year, Caroline Wozniacki has confirmed that she will play one final match in her home country before hanging up her racket for good.

 

Danish media have reported that the 2018 Australian Open champion will play at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen next May. A multi-purpose arena that can hold a capacity of up to 12,500 people for sporting events. Described by the promoters as Wozniacki’s ‘final match’ on Danish soil, she will play against rival and friend Serena Williams.

“The time has come when I stop my career and I am very much looking forward to playing my very last home game in front of such a large audience. It will be something very special and a day I really look forward to.” Wozniacki told tv2.dk.
“The end point of my career cannot be better than at home and against tennis’ greatest female player ever. It’s going to be a magnificent night I’ll never forget, I’m sure.” She added.

Wozniacki has played Williams 11 times on the WTA Tour, but has only won one of their meetings. Which was at the 2012 Miami Open. It is not the first time the two have played an exhibition match against each other. In 2016 Williams won their encounter in Madison Square Garden, New York. Meanwhile, last year Wozniacki also played Williams’ sister Venus in Denmark to mark her triumph at the Australian Open.

The 29-year-old will be hoping that the upcoming showdown will be the perfect send off as she exits the sport. During her career, Wozniacki has won 30 WTA titles and spent 71 weeks as world No.1. She has also won 432 hard court matches, which is more than any other non-American player on the women’s tour.

“I want to thank everyone for the incredible support they have shown me throughout my career and I hope that as many people as possible want to come and give me perfect send off. I would be very grateful for that.” She said.

The farewell match will take place on May 18th, which is exactly a week before the start of the French Open for Williams.

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Indian Wells voted as the best WTA Premier Mandatory Tournament of the 2019 season

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The tournament awards are broken down into four categories, according to the four different levels of WTA Tournaments.

 

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells has been voted as the winner of the Tournament of the Year Award in the WTA Premier Mandatory category for the sixth consecutive year and the 11th time overall.

Dubai was voted as the winner in the WTA Premier 5 Category. There were two ties in the WTA Premier category and in the WTA International categories.

St. Petersburg won the WTA Premier Award fo the second consecutive year, while Stuttgart received this award for the 10th time.

Auckland won the WTA International category Award for the fourth time, while Acapulco received this accolade for the 12th time.

Petra Kvitova received the Karen Krantzcke Sportmanship Award for the seventh straight year and the eighth time overall. The list of past winners of this Award features Kim Clijsters, Elena Dementieva, Ana Ivanovic, Lindsay Davenport, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong-Cawley. The Karen Krantzcke Sportmaship Award is presented to the player, who observes the rules of fair play, shows respect for others and is gracious on and off the court.

“Receiving this award for the eighth consecutive year makes me very proud and means so much for me. Being recognized by my colleagues for sportsmanship and fair play is an honour as I always pride myself on treating my opponents with respect. I hope to inspire the future generations to love the sport of tennis as much as I do”, said Kvitova.

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Carla Suarez Navarro Set For One Last Season As A Player

The former top 10 player has outlined her retirement plans for 2020 as she embarks upon a farewell tour.

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Next year will be the final time tennis fans will see Carla Suarez Navarro on the tour after the Spaniard announced her retirement on Tuesday.

 

The former world No.6 confirmed her future plans during a press conference in Barcelona. She will play one full season in 2020 before walking away from the sport after playing for more than 10 years on the WTA Tour. Suarez Navarro is currently the second highest ranked female tennis player from Spain after Garbine Muguruza and is currently 55th in the world.

“The 2020 season will be my last year in the professional tennis circuit,” wtatennis.com quoted the 31-year-old as saying. “The sport has been a fundamental part of my life – it has given me immense joy and I cannot be more grateful for all the experiences that it has allowed me to live. At this time, I notice that the time has come to complete a beautiful chapter and begin to enjoy other areas of life. Tennis will always be in me.”

Known for her one-handed backhand shot, which is a rare occurrence in the women’s game, Suarez Navarro has enjoyed a successful career since her breakthrough in 2008. The year when she reached the quarter-finals of the French Open as a qualifier. During her career, she claimed two WTA titles with the biggest being at the 2016 Qatar Open. She also finished runner-up at nine other tournaments.

“Tennis right now has a very high demand. To be high in the ranking you need absolute consistency, a world-class level of physical conditioning and a 24-hour daily psychological commitment. I have been in high competition for more than 15 years and have lived through these realities since the beginning of my adolescence. These are lessons that have formed me as a person and that will serve me for a lifetime,” Suárez Navarro explained.
“I want to enjoy one last season with the same professionalism as always. I am going to do a quality preparation, my whole team is going to travel with me from the month of January and I plan to compete until the end of the season. My desire is clear: to be proud of this last effort when I reach the end of the road.”

Suarez Navarro has also enjoyed success in the doubles where she peaked at a high of 11th back in 2015. Her trio of trophies was won alongside Muguruza between 2014-2015. The duo also reached the semi-finals of the 2014 French Open.

Representing her country, the three-time Olympian has also featured in 15 Fed Cup ties. Including Spain’s clash with Belgium earlier this year when she won all three of her matches (two singles and one doubles). Overall, she has a win-loss record of 16-11 in the competition.

Despite knowing that next year will be her last as a player, the Spaniard has big ambitions for 2020. Including a fourth consecutive appearance at the Olympic Games.

“My goals are going to be as high as ever,” she stated. “I want to try to finish the year in the Top 10 because I know what it takes to be there. I am very excited to participate in another Olympic Games and, as always, I will have the Grand Slams in mind. Although it is the last season of my career, my mentality will be exactly the same: work, humility and ambition.”

Suarez Navarro will start her final season at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Four facts about Suarez Navarro’s career

  1. Her career prize money currently stands at $11,580,886. The third highest of all time for a Spanish woman.
  2. Has won 509 matches so far in her career against 336 loses.
  3. Between 2013-2016 Suarez Navarro finished each season in the top 20 for both singles and doubles.
  4. She has played in 43 grand slam tournaments and hasn’t missed the main draw of a major event since losing in the second round of qualifying at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships.

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