Fed Cup: Czech Republic wrap up 3-0 win over USA

Katerina Siniakova secured her second singles win in the space of 24 hours to beat Sofia Kenin 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 in a rollercoaster singles rubber that wrapped up an 11th Fed Cup victory for the Czech Republic.

The match lasted three hours and 45 minutes, and resulted in wild celebrations for the hosts while the teenage American was consoled by her team-mates for her impressive efforts.

Siniakova had already beaten Alison Riske 6-3, 7-6(2) on Saturday after Barbora Strycova had opened up the weekend’s action with a 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4 win over Kenin.

Fed Cup: Strycova, Siniakova put Czechs ahead over USA

The Czech Republic got off to a perfect start at the 2018 Fed Cup final in Prague, claiming both rubbers after dramatic victories by Barbora Strycova and Katerina Siniakova to close out the day with a 2-0 lead.

Playing in her final Fed Cup for the Czech Republic, Strycova put on an epic performance to defeat American debutante Sofia Kenin, coming back from a set down to win  6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4.

In the second rubber, Siniakova put the hosts ahead to a commanding 2-0 lead after edging past Alison Riske, 6-3, 7-6(2) and claiming the second singles win of her Fed Cup career.

Petra wins Fed Cup Heart Award

Petra Kvitova, who has missed just one year of Fed Cup action in the past decade, has been honored with her second Heart Award – and has donated the cheque to the hospital that saved her hand and career.

Her duo of straight-sets wins in the Fed Cup semifinals – over Germany’s Julia Goerges and Angelique Kerber – led to fans voting hers the performance of the round.

“I’m excited to have won the Heart Award,” said Kvitova. “It’s a big honour for me to win it. I won it once before, in 2011, and it’s a beautiful award – it’s awarded by the fans, which is something very special. The fans are the best, and we are playing for them as well. It’s something very special to be voted by them.

“I’m going to donate it to the hospital when my injury happened. I’m very excited to give them the money.”

 

She received a cheque for £10,000, which will be presented to the Institute of Hand Surgery and Plastic Surgery in Vysoke nad Jizerou, where she underwent surgery on her left hand following a knife attack by an intruder in her home at the end of 2016.

 

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Singapore: Pliskova first into semis after ousting Petra

No.7 seed Karolina Pliskova clinched the first spot in the semifinals of the 2018 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global after dispatching her compatriot Petra Kvitova, the No.4 seed, 6-3, 6-4, in the final round-robin match for the two Czechs.

Former World No.1 Pliskova will contest the final four in Singapore for the second straight year, and reached another semifinal in style, picking up her first win in four meetings against her elder countrywoman after one hour and 22 minutes of high-octane play.

Pliskova had only six winners during the match but was by far the more consistent player on the day, breaking the vaunted Kvitova serve five times during the match behind incredible returning when facing second serves. Pliskova won nearly 70 percent of points when she saw a second delivery from Kvitova.

2011 WTA Finals champion came unglued with 32 unforced errors, and ends the 2018 round-robin with an 0-3 record. Kvitova has a stellar record against her fellow Czechs, having won 27 of her last 29 matches against her countrywomen, but has lost two of those matches this year the other being to Pliskova’s twin sister Kristyna in Charleston in April.

In a battle between two of the biggest servers in the game, it was Kvitova who was unable to get a handle on her delivery in the early going. Kvitova dropped her first service game after firing three double faults, two consecutively to end the game. Pliskova then broke her countrywoman again for 4-0, crushing a return winner to take that game at love.

Kvitova recovered slightly, claiming one break back after a five-deuce game for 4-1, and regrouped from a 0-40 deficit to hold for 4-2, as the powerful Pliskova groundstrokes hit a rough, error-strewn patch.

But Pliskova regained her rhythm as the set reached its conclusion, using incredible depth to force errors and hold for 5-2, getting back on track.

Two games later, a stunning forehand by Pliskova brought up a set point, which she converted to ease to the one-set lead after a long Kvitova return.

 

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Wozniacki outlasts Petra for first win of 2018 WTA Finals

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki evened her record in round-robin play in the White Group at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global on Tuesday, defeating Petra Kvitova, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2.

Both players lost their opening round matches in Singapore on Sunday, but the defending champion’s nearly two-and-a-half hour victory improved her chances of qualifying for the knockout stage, while 2011 champion Kvitova drops to 0-2 in the group.

The victory is Wozniacki’s first against the two-time Wimbledon champion in four years, with her last also coming at the WTA Finals.

Wozniacki withstood 40 winners off the Czech’s racquet over the course of two hours and 19 minutes, as Kvitova also totaled 40 unforced errors.

The Dane served at 70 percent from the line, hitting three aces and saving eight of the 13 break points she faced, while also hitting 19 winners to just 14 unforced errors.

Trailing by a break in the second set, the Australian Open champion was treated for a left knee injury. Though she leveled the set with a break for 3-3, she lost the next three games to send the match to a decider.

She rebounded strongly in the final set, breaking twice and saving the lone break point she faced to earn the win.

 

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Svitolina stops Petra in Singapore opener

The 2018 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global opened on Sunday with a bang, as No.6 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine claimed only her second win in nine meetings with No.4 seed Petra Kvitova, beating the Czech, 6-3, 6-3, to take the lead in the round-robin portion of the event. (…)

Kvitova started shakily, dropping serve in the first game after a plethora of forehand errors. But deep returning helped her strike back immediately to level the set at 1-1, as she hoped to extend her streak of 12 consecutive sets won against Svitolina.

The Ukrainian, however, had other ideas, using spirited movement around the court to dismiss the sudden rash of dropshots from the Czech and stay even through 3-3. Svitolina then took advantage of more errors from Kvitova to reclaim her break lead at 4-3.

Kvitova ramped up her aggression even further, frequently rushing the net to try to grasp the break back, but Svitolina was unbowed. Svitolina opened up the 5-3 game with an amazing volley winner, and raced to triple set point. Kvitova double faulted on the second set point to hand Svitolina a set for the first time in their head-to-head since 2015.

Svitolina refused to give up the momentum as the second set started, showing her mettle by staving off three break points to hold for 2-1, and coming back from 0-30 down in her next service game, punching an ace to hold for 3-2.

The Ukrainian was rewarded for that fight with the decisive service break in the next game, as Kvitova’s forehand continued to misfire, giving Svitolina two break points. The sixth seed needed only one, as Kvitova sprayed another miscue long to provide Svitolina with a 4-2 advantage.

Kvitova survived a tough game at 4-3, holding with a lovely backhand volley and putting the pressure on Svitolina to serve out the match. But Svitolina was up to the task on the day, using incredible depth on her groundstrokes to come out on top during most rallies, and converting her first match point as a forehand by the Ukrainian forced a wide error from her opponent.

 

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Gavrilova grounds Petra to begin China Open

Daria Gavrilova scored her second victory over a Grand Slam champion in as many weeks on Saturday, as she defeated No.5 seed Petra Kvitova in the first round of the China Open, 6-2, 6-1.

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An up-and-down performance from the World No.5 sealed her fate in the first match of the day on the Diamond Court, as she was largely the one who finished the points in one way or the other.

Kvitova racked up 39 unforced errors over the course of 93 minutes, despite also totaling 26 winners, and lost serve six times in the match overall.

The opening set began ominously for the World No.5, who lost her next two service games from deuce after holding fairly comfortably to begin the match.

Trailing 4-1, Kvitova earned her lone break of the match in one of five deuce games which ultimately dotted the landscape of the opening set.

Nonetheless, she was unable to gather any sustained momenum, and surrendered the last two games – including the last five points of the set after building a 0-40 lead on the Aussie’s serve – to drop the opener.

Despite tallying 17 winners in the first set, Kvitova also logged 17 unforced errors, while Gavrilova recorded four winners and five unforced.

The Aussie also avoided the pitfall of too many second serves by having an excellent day at the line, as she landed 81 percent of her first serves overall and a sparkling 87 percent in the first set.

Kvitova remained unable to find the answers to Gavrilova’s staunch defending in the second set, with several marathon rallies going the Aussie’s way as games flipped to her side of the scoreboard.

The World No.33 hit a tidy 12 winners to 12 unforced errors in the match, and stamped her authority on the second set with a love break to begin it.

Two more breaks for Gavrilova followed, as Kvitova hit five of her six double faults in the match in the second set, and the 24-year-old wrapped up the upset in a titantic, eight-deuce affair in the final game on her fourth match point.

 

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Pavlyuchenkova downs two-time champ Petra in Wuhan

Unseeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova came from a set down to defeat two-time champion Petra Kvitova and reach the quarterfinals of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Wednesday, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The World No.39 needed over two hours to score her best victory in terms of ranking since she defeated then-World No.3 Garbiñe Muguruza at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in April.

Unseeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ensured the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open will crown a new champion this year, thanks to a third round upset of Petra Kvitova.

Though the Russian was the first to break serve in the match, building a 0-40 lead en route to winning Kvitova’s third service game on her second chance to move ahead 3-2, that proved to be the last game she’d win in the opener.

The two-time champion in Wuhan powered through the next four games in a row, twice breaking the World No.39 to flip the set around to 5-3, and sealed the set in a titanic ninth game where she saved five break points.

Despite serving at just 42 percent, the two-time Wimbledon champion won over 70 percent of the points played on her first serve in the first set, and played well in the clutch to save six of seven break point opportunities she faced.

Nonetheless, Pavlyuchenkova rounded into form as the match wore on, with an early break in the second set helping her cause to take the match the distance.

The Russian led 0-40 in Kvitova’s first serve game of the set, again breaking to 15, to take a lead she would never relinquish. Kvitova saved a break point in each of her next three service games, but clutch play on serve meant the Russian would not rue her missed chances.

The 27-year-old dropped just seven points on serve in the second set,  never facing break point, and hit nearly the same amount of winners to her Czech for (9 to 10) with less than half the unforced errors (6 to 14).

In the final set, the players traded early breaks, with the Russian earning the first advantage for the third straight set and Kvitova hitting back to level the action at 2-2.

However, after falling behind for the first time int he set, Pavlyuchenkova responded in a big way, and claimed the last four games en route to defeating Kvitova for the first time in six years.

Controlled aggression won out for Pavlyuchenkova over the course of two hours and 13 minutes, as she struck 21 winners to 19 unforced errors overall.

The Russian created a staggering 21 break point opportunities over the course of the match, converting five, as Kvitova managed 28 winners to 37 unforced errors overall.

 

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Petra cruises past Krunic to reach Wuhan 3rd round

No.5 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, twice a winner of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, started her quest for a third title in five years with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia in the second round on Tuesday.

Kvitova was the inaugural champion in Wuhan in 2014 and doubled up with another trophy in 2016. The Czech, though, had lost her only previous meeting with Krunic, as the Serb claimed a stunning upset in the third round of the US Open in 2014. However, Kvitova avenged that loss with the Wuhan win in one hour and 20 minutes.

“Definitely, I’m very satisfied how I played today,” Kvitova told the press, after the match. “I lost to her the last time we played. She is playing a little bit unusual than the other players. I knew it will be difficult. But my serve helped me a lot today. I was very pleased with that. I think I really kept everything what I had to, played aggressive, but not too much risk.”

“When you are coming somewhere where you know you played well before, it’s always easier for the mind,” Kvitova continued.

 

The Czech star improved her lifetime Wuhan record to 13-2 after the victory over Krunic.

In the third round, Kvitova will take on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, who eliminated No.12 seed and last week’s Seoul titlist Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, 6-4, 6-2, earlier on Thursday.

 

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