x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Dubai Tennis Championships: Petra Kvitova prevails to lift title

Czech turns on the style in third set to defeat Italy's Sara Errani, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic celebrates after defeating Sara Errani in Dubai.
Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic celebrates after defeating Sara Errani in Dubai.

DUBAI // Sara Errani succeeded where the likes of Ana Ivanovic, Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki had failed this week.

She won a set off Petra Kvitova and almost threatened to derail a juggernaut that had looked unstoppable through the week.

In the end, Errani came up just short despite an astonishing, counter-punching onslaught in the second set that brought the fans to their feet and put them firmly behind her.

Wilting under the Italian’s blitz, Kvitova recovered just in time to post a 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 win and claim her first crown of 2013.

“It was a very tough match and it was up and down all the time,” a relieved Kvitova said. “It was great final and I think that Sara played so well. It was really tough to beat her.

“She was really on fire in the second [set] and she continued in the third.

“She was going for the net a lot, and that was a bit of a problem for me.

“It was very important to stay positive in the third and still fighting about every point. I guess I got lucky in the end.

“The idea was to stay calm and cool. And perhaps, sometimes it is good to be alone on the court without the coach.”

Kvitova’s coach, David Kotyza, was not courtside, since he is on a holiday. But there were times during the match when the eventual champion could have done with a few words of advice.

Errani had lost all three of her previous matches against the big-hitting Czech, all in straight sets, and another defeat was looming as she lost the first set.

But suddenly, she found those extra gears to completely disrupt Kvitova’s rhythm and won the second set in a mere 29 minutes.

The Italian looked a different player, as did Kvitova, for that matter, and played some breathtaking points that even her opponent was forced to applaud.

“She was hitting so strong, making winners everywhere,” Errani said.

“I had to change something to try to win the match, and I did on the second set – tried to go more on the net, be more aggressive. And that’s it. On the baseline she was playing unbelievable, so it was very tough.”

A minor upset – world No 7 Errani is one slot higher than her opponent in the rankings – seemed possible, but Kvitova finally started landing her big forehands and that eventually settled the thrilling finale in her favour.

“I think I had my chances in the third set, love-40, and I lost them,” Errani said.

“Well done for her side; bad luck for my side. That’s it. I just try to change a bit my game to win this match. I try everything to win but [it] couldn’t be.”

Kvitova hit 46 winners through those three sets, while Errani had only 10. The Czech, however, also made 36 errors to her opponent’s 11.

“It’s hard to play because her ball is very flat,” Errani said.

“I don’t have time to do the points that I want to do, to play the game that I want to play. All the points are very short, and it’s very tough.”

Earlier, Sania Mirza and Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik 6-4, 6-2, 10-7 to clinch the doubles title.

The pair, making their second appearance in a final this year, won six successive points in the super tie-breaker and then Mirza served out for the championship with an ace down the centre.

 

arizvi@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE