Sat, Jan 07, 2012 - Page 20 News List

TENNIS: Kvitova closes on top spot after downing Wozniacki


Petra Kvitova celebrates winning a point against Caroline Wozniacki during their singles match at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Petra Kvitova helped the Czech Republic reach the Hopman Cup final yesterday, defeating world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in another sign the Dane’s days at the top might be numbered.

The most-anticipated match of the tournament lived up to expectations, with the left-handed Czech Republic player and world No. 2 triumphing 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-4, in 2 hours, 16 minutes.

In the men’s singles, Tomas Berdych secured the Czech Republic’s place in the final with a straight sets win over Frederik Nielsen, 6-1, 6-3. The third match in the clash, the mixed doubles dead rubber, was not played.

World No. 7 Berdych had shown some indifferent form in the other group matchups — 76th-ranked Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov took him to three sets in a match lasting more than two hours — but he made quick work of the Dane.

In today’s final, the top seeded Czech duo will meet second seeds France, represented by Marion Bartoli and Richard Gasquet, who have shown impressive form in their group matchups against Spain, Australia and China.

Although no ranking points were on offer in the women’s match, the two 21-year-olds played as if there were, trading blows from the back of the court in a thrilling match, and Kvitova’s jubilation at victory told a tale.

It was a match of contrasting styles, with the Czech hitting twice as many winners as her opponent, but Wozniacki, who played vastly better and with more venom than in her two previous singles outings this week, made very few errors.

The match swung on the sixth game in the deciding set, when Wozniacki was up 40-love on Kvitova’s serve, but the Dane could not convert her break points and Kvitova won through to lead 4-2 and she never let go of her advantage.

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