Kvitova hopes Wuhan win will spur late rush for Finals

Czech Petra Kvitova hitting a return to Slovak Dominika Cibulkova in WTA Wuhan Open final. An overwhelming 6-1, 6-1 score gave her a second crown in the Chinese city and broke her 13-month title drought.
Czech Petra Kvitova hitting a return to Slovak Dominika Cibulkova in WTA Wuhan Open final. An overwhelming 6-1, 6-1 score gave her a second crown in the Chinese city and broke her 13-month title drought. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WUHAN • Petra Kvitova can be maddeningly inconsistent, which is why the former world No. 2 is languishing at No. 16 after a poor season.

Yet, in her past four matches at the Wuhan Open, the Czech is hitting cleanly again - and reminding all of why she is already a two-time Wimbledon champion.

The 26-year-old fired a staggering 143 winners - including 28 in the final past a hapless Dominika Cibulkova - en route to clinching her second Wuhan title yesterday.

Appearing in her first final since last year's WTA Finals Singapore, Kvitova lost just one point behind her first serve and sent down nine aces to demolish her Slovak opponent 6-1, 6-1 in just 62 minutes.

Her hard-hitting strength was felt by those on the receiving end across the net throughout the week, including world No. 1 Angelique Kerber in the round of 16. Her vanquished semi-final opponent, world No. 5 Simona Halep, commented after their match that Kvitova's shots were faster than Serena Williams'.

Yet, Kvitova said: "I think I'll always probably have the match in my own hands. It just depends on whether I have more unforced errors or winners, right?

"When I have the confidence, it will look like today or yesterday. But sometimes it just looks really, really bad.

"For sure, this week I felt that if I'm really going for the winners, it's just impossible for the girls to return the shots."

And when it came to Cibulkova's turn in the firing zone, she could not defuse Kvitova, who was clubbing winners from all directions on the court.

Said the 27-year-old, who will still rise to a career-high No. 8: "She was really powerful from the first strokes and she was just hitting everything with full power, even her second serve. That's how she overpowered me today.

"When she's playing like this, she can beat anybody."

With the victory, Kvitova will soar nine spots to No. 12 on the Road to Singapore leader board, putting herself with a slim chance to snap up one of the five remaining berths for the Oct 23-30 WTA Finals, which will feature the top eight best-performing singles and doubles pairs this year.

She said: "I was talking about Singapore in the beginning, that I don't really think that I can qualify.

"I still don't know what I can answer right now. I know I still have a chance to qualify for Singapore, but it's not the biggest goal right now. I would like to just enjoy playing as great as I did this week."

Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 02, 2016, with the headline 'Kvitova hopes Wuhan win will spur late rush for Finals'. Print Edition | Subscribe