NEW HAVEN, CT, USA - No.2 seed Petra Kvitova suffered another slow start at the hands of four-time Connecticut Open champion Caroline Wozniacki, but after saving a set point at 5-3, the defending champion struck a vein of vicious form on Friday night, outclassing her Danish rival, 7-5, 6-1, to reach a fourth straight final in New Haven.
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A classic match-up between offense and defense squared off on New Haven's Stadium Court and didn't disappoint early on, as Kvitova's clean ball-striking met Wozniacki's ruthless retrieving. By the seventh game, it appeared the Dane had weathered the storm in stealing the first break of the match, even holding a set point minutes later.
"A most difficult first set," was how Kvitova described the opening volleys to the packed crowd after the match. "I was realy focusing and every game was so close; a few points and it would have been on the other side."
From there, the World No.5 stepped up and into the court, striking 33 winners in the opening set alone (43 overall) to drop just one more game in the next 11 and set up an all-Czech final with No.4 seed Lucie Safarova on Saturday. Since 2012, Kvitova has lost just one match in New Haven (the 2013 final to Simona Halep) and is just one match from a third title in four years.
"I just like New Haven. I just like this center court and the crowd was amazing, full today. I'm really happy that you came and watched many champs here on the court and I'm really happy that I can play finals again."
The Top 2 Czechs played a whopping five matches in 2014 - two of which went three sets - and Kvitova is wary that Safarova's big improvements will make her a tricky opponent in tomorrow's final.
"I think many people in the Czech Republic will watch the match, for sure. We know each other well, with Lucie, on and off the court. We're practicing as well, a lot in Czech. I know how she plays, but she's getting better and better. I really have to be prepared for tomorrow."
The former Wimbledon champion is 6-1 in finals since the fall of 2013, but both she and the World No.6 are playing in their third WTA final of the season; who will emerge victorious ahead of the US Open?