A stunning first set comeback helped No.2 seed Petra Kvitova book her place in the final at the J&T Banka Prague Open over Zhang Shuai on Friday, 7-6(6), 6-0. Trailing 5-1 in the tiebreak, the two-time Wimbledon champion hit three winners in the next six points en route to leveling the action to later steal the set, and rolled her momentum into the final with a bagel in the second set.
The Czech No.2 struck a staggering 37 winners – 15 of which came in the last six games – in the match to just 17 unforced errors overall, and never faced a break point to level her head-to-head against the Chinese No.1 in their fourth career meeting.
“I was a better player for one hour and almost lost the [first] set,” Kvitova said of her Houdini act after the match. “This would’ve been extremely difficult for my head to cope with. I started the tiebreak very badly. I missed two returns, played poorly. I tried to calm myself after it and tried to play bit softer. I knew I wouldn’t get some aces from her, so I knew I still would have chances.”
Making her debut at the tour-level tournament in Prague in its fourth edition, Kvitova will next face No.7 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu, who pulled off a comeback of her own against Italian Camila Giorgi in the other semifinal.
“It’s strange, that another tournament [in Madrid] already begins and I still play here,” said Kvitova, who is a former champion at next week’s Premier Mandatory event and will look to add a home trophy on clay to her career haul on Saturday.