DUBAI, UAE - In a match with some very large momentum swings it was Petra Kvitova whose fortunes swung the right way at the right time, running away with the last five games of the match to beat Sara Errani on Saturday and win her 10th WTA title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
The No.6-seeded Kvitova dominated the early goings, overpowering Errani to take a 62 10 lead; the No.5-seeded Errani grabbed the momentum from there, winning six games in a row to claim the second set, 6-1, and after a pair of routine holds the two Top 10 stars were locked at 1-1 in the third.
That's when Kvitova came alive again however, winning the last five games to end it, 62 16 61.
Errani talked about flipping the script in the second set. "In the beginning she was hitting so strong and making winners from everywhere, so I had to change something," she said. "I tried to go to the net more and be more aggressive, and that's it - from the baseline she was playing unbelievable and it was very tough, so I just tried to put some more pressure on her somehow, and it was working.
"I had many chances in the third, many game points, and I lost them. If I got to 2-all there would be more pressure on her to close the match, but it was 4-1, 5-1, and then it was very easy for her."
The Italian looked on the bright side of the big picture though. "I think it's always great to do a final," she said. "And also this court is very fast, so it's not my favorite court and it's tough for me to play on this court, so making the final is a very good tournament for me. I was fighting a lot every match. I didn't really expect to win one round maybe, so it was a very good tournament for me in the end."
And on Dubai? "Unbelievable," Errani added. "I've been here two years ago, and in those two years they've changed a lot of things. It's amazing what they've done. It's one of the best tournaments of the year. Everything is very good. The organization, everybody, everything. It's just unbelievable."
Kvitova had won all three previous meetings with Errani in straight sets, and even though this one went to three, she remains perfect against the Italian. She also has 10 WTA titles to her name now.
"I knew I had to keep fighting for every ball, because she was really on fire in the second set and continued that in the third too," Kvitova said. "I was just thinking to not give up and just fight for every point. When it was 2-1 and she missed a volley, and I think that was a turning point for me.
"I was quite down after the second set. I just tried to stay positive and just play."
The Middle Eastern swing has brought out something of a revival in Kvitova's game - going into Doha last week she hadn't won back-to-back matches at any WTA event since the US Open last summer, but she won two in a row to get to the quarterfinals last week (where she led Serena Williams 4-1 in the third set before falling) and this week she won five in a row to go all the way to the Dubai title.
"I'm glad how I'm playing right now - that's the important thing for me," Kvitova said. "I'm not thinking this is a turning point or a turning tournament for me. Yes, it was a lot of great players here and it was hard to beat them, but I'm still just thinking about my game. That's the priority for me."