Kvitova Hits 40 Winners For Biggest Career Title
Published May 08, 2011 12:00
MADRID, Spain - Both just 21 and on the rise, literally. Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova's runs in Madrid will bring both of them ranking breakthroughs on Monday but on Sunday only one of them would hoist the Mutua Madrid Open title, and with a barrage of winners it was Kvitova who emerged, 76(3) 64.
By reaching the semifinals Kvitova secured herself a rise from No.18 to No.10, her Top 10 debut; and by reaching the final Azarenka assured herself of going from No.5 to No.4, making her the highest-ranked Belarusian in WTA history. With those locked in, the Premier-level title was the main prize on Sunday.
Kvitova, the No.16 seed, was the first to draw blood in the final, building a 3-0 lead; Azarenka, seeded No.4, rallied back to 3-3 and the two put on a serving display over the next six games, neither losing more than two points on their delivery. Kvitova won six of seven points from 1-2 to take the breaker, 7-3.
The second set was like a tug of war, with Kvitova twice going up a break then losing it; but she broke again at 3-3 and it stuck this time, and serving for the match at 5-4 she brought out the entire arsenal - a forehand winner, an ace, a backhand winner and a service winner. The Czech lefty finished with far bigger numbers - 40 winners to 34 errors (Azarenka had 10 winners and 21 errors).
"We know each other's games well. Today it was about being more aggressive and I was the first," Kvitova said. "I'm so happy to win the tournament and be in the Top 10 at the same time. But it's just a number and I want to improve my game - I don't just want to be Top 10, I want to keep getting better and better."
"Petra showed some great tennis today," Azarenka said. "There were some things I could have done better and I could have taken some more opportunities, but that's the way tennis works. Today it was her on top. I'm taking it day by day, and I'm really looking forward to Rome and the next tournaments."
Kvitova joins Caroline Wozniacki as the only players to win three WTA titles so far this year - she also won in Brisbane and Paris. She now has four WTA titles, also winning Hobart two years ago, and is 4-1 in career WTA finals.
Azarenka, who is now 7-7 in WTA finals, will now pass Natasha Zvereva as the highest-ranked Belarusian in WTA history. "It's a great feeling to be a part of history for your country," Azarenka added. "We have so many schools in Belarus where kids are getting involved with tennis and it's huge for me that I'm one of the people they're looking up to. I hope to keep going the same way."
Azarenka didn't come away empty-handed from the winner's circle, taking the doubles title on Saturday night with Maria Kirilenko, their second Premier-level doubles title as a team. Read more about the doubles final here.