In a battle between the two best lefties in the world Petra Kvitova edged Angelique Kerber, and by doing so she completed the final four at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul.
WTA Staff

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Petra Kvitova beat Angelique Kerber in a battle of the world's two best lefties, and by doing so completed the final four at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul.

Watch highlights, interviews and much more video from Istanbul all week, right here!

Kvitova came out swinging for the fances, reeling off four of the first five games of the match - and hitting 13 winners to just three unforced errors along the way. That momentum would dissipate as quickly as it came though, and Kerber clawed back from 4-1 down to take the set in a tie-break.

During that second half of the first set, Kvitova cooled off with eight winners to 13 unforced errors.

"She started playing more aggressively and I started making easy mistakes - that was the difference in the first set," Kvitova said. "But I just kept fighting until the end, and I started playing a lot better."

Indeed she did - across the second and third sets she put together a +10 differential of 26 winners to 16 unforced errors, and at the end of the day Kerber just couldn't keep up at the most crucial of times - the No.5-seeded Kvitova scored a come-from-behind 67(3) 62 63 win over the No.8-seeded Kerber.

"I'm a little bit tired right now. It was a really tough match from both sides," Kvitova said. "She played so well today, but I'm happy with how I played and I'm really happy to be in the semifinals again."

A few other stats jump out - Kvitova won 30 of 38 points at net and six of her nine break points. She is now 31-4 on indoor hardcourts since the start of 2011 and a hefty 8-1 against lefties this year (the only loss to a fellow left-hander came in the second round of the Australian Open to Laura Robson).

But the Czech has to refocus now, as she has a one day turnaround before the semifinals, where she will face No.4 seed Li Na. Their history couldn't be closer - Li and Kvitova are tied in their career head-to-head series, 3-3, going 1-1 against each other in 2011, 1-1 in 2012 and, of course, 1-1 in 2013.

Their last meeting came in the quarterfinals of Beijing just a matter of weeks ago, with Kvitova taking Li down in front of her home crowd in a tough three-setter, 46 62 64 (read more about that here).

"She's a good friend of mine," Kvitova said. "It's always good to play against her and it's always a tough match. We just played three sets in Beijing. But right now I'm just really happy about my win today - I really wanted to get to the semifinals this week. But of course it's going to be tough tomorrow."

This is just the third time in the last 21 years that a lefty has reached the semifinals of this event. Since 1992, only Monica Seles (2000) and Kvitova (2011 and now 2013) have made the semis or better here.