Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2012 ROGERS CUP: Kvitova Wins 1st Title of Year

2011Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and 2011 French Open champion Li Na faced off in a curiously scheduled Monday night final at the Rogers Cup in Montreal to each win their first WTA tour title of 2012. Kvitova ended up winning the match, 7-5 2-6 6-3, in 2 hours and 17 minutes. Kvitova had defeated Caroline Wozniacki in 3 blowout sets while Li reached the final by coming back from being down 1-5 down in the 3rd set to win the last 6 games in a row against another Czech player, Lucie Safarova.

Unlike the men's final of the Rogers Cup between Novak Djokovic and Richard Gasquet that I attended on Sunday night in Toronto, the women's final was quite dramatic. The first set featured five breaks of serve, with Li Na breaking through first to go up 3-1. Kvitova then won 4 games in a row and was serving for the set 5-3 but was unable to hold serve as the Chinese player was able to even the set at 5-all. However, after two very hard-fought service games, Kvitova ended up winning the first set.

Surprisingly, Li Na responded by raising  her level of play in the second set and rattled off 4 games in a row and ended up winning it 6-2. The third and deciding set followed the pattern of the first set, with both players pounding the ball, except this time there was only one break of serve in the 8th game, with Kvitova serving out the match in the very next game.

Kvitova and Li now have an even head-to-head history of 2 wins each. It was Li's third final of the year, having lost to Victoria Azarenka in Sydney, Maria Sharapova in Rome and now Kvitova in Montreal. The good news is that all these players are higher ranked than she is, and they were all hard-fought, very close 3-set matches. It was Kvitova's first final in 2012, but she has had good results in the major tournaments, thus keeping her ranking high.

The next big tournament has already started, which is the Southern & Western Open in Cincinnati where both the top men and top women will be competing.

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