ISTANBUL, Turkey - Petra Kvitova came out swinging against Agnieszka Radwanska at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul on Tuesday, breaking serve early in both sets and winning in straight sets. The Czech also exorcised some demons from the same match at last year's tournament.
A year ago, Kvitova lost to Radwanska in straight sets on Day 1 of the round robin portion, commenting afterwards she was struggling with nerves during the match - she was defending the title, after all.
The next day Kvitova withdrew from the tournament - she had been suffering with a viral illness.
"Yesterday when I played I thought I was nervous, but normally nerves are gone after the first set, and it was actually happening during all the match," Kvitova said that day. "I was shaking all match and wasn't feeling very well. My stomach felt funny. After one rally with Agnieszka I couldn't breathe.
"So I thought there was probably something wrong."
Kvitova was devastated to surrender her title that way. ""It's a great tournament and it was an honor to be here," she said in a press conference. "It was very nice to step on the court yesterday and feel the Turkish crowd supporting me. It was really special to me. I hope I can come back next year again.
"I've never withdrawn during a tournament, this is the first time for me. I'm really disappointed."
On Tuesday she had a far different result - the No.5-seeded Kvitova went up a break early in both sets and eventually was just too powerful for the No.3-seeded Radwanska, closing it out in two, 64 64.
"I feel really happy - it was a tough match for the first round," Kvitova said. "I also lost to her in my first match here last year, so I didn't have very nice memories against her here, but I just tried to stay aggressive today and not have many mistakes - I knew those were the keys to the match today."
And it wasn't just the aggression that carried Kvitova past Radwanska. While both players had pretty even differentials of winners to unforced errors, -1 for Kvitova (33 to 34) and +1 for Radwanska (11 to 10), it was on the big points where Kvitova really took it up a notch, converting on three of her six break points in the match - Radwanska was only able to convert on one of her eight break points.