#SAPStatOfTheDay: @Petra_Kvitova only lost FIVE games in @WuhanOpenTennis Semifinal and Final! pic.twitter.com/Ax9o52PQCo— WTA (@WTA) October 1, 2016
Today, Petra Kvitova won her second Wuhan title, giving her 18 titles for her career. The Barking Czech hadn't won a title in over a year, and her return to her dear friend Li Na's home city inspired her in such a way that an observer was reminded of Kvitova's 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon campaigns. This was Scary Petra, who doesn't let an opponent--even an elite opponent--into the match, so overpowering is her dominance.
The physically fragile Kvitova complained of being tired, and after her epic 3rd round match with world number 1 Angelique Kerber, it seemed a given that the Czech star wasn't going to get through the quarterfinals. Holding three match points at the end of the match, Kvitova started cramping, and that leg cramp meant that she could not convert. Yet somehow, on her seventh match point, Kvitova prevailed in this three-hour and 20-minute beauty of a match.
Having already beaten nemesis upstart Jelena Ostapenko, Elina Svitolina and Johanna Konta, Kvitova was already showing great strength by the time she got to Kerber. And then, despite her fatigue, she showed up at her semifinal match and thumped Simona Halep, of all people, 6-1, 6-2. Nothing to it. Scary Petra.
In the final, Kvitova made short work of beating Dominika Cibulkova (6-1, 6-1), and Cibulkova wasn't exactly playing poorly.
Where did this Kvitova come from, and why do we see her so rarely? The Barking Czech had some very candid things to say after the tournament:
Kvitova: "I don't really think that I can be consistent all season. I'm just how I am probably, and I can't really change it." pic.twitter.com/cbqgZc2XqV— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) October 1, 2016
These remarks didn't go over well with some fans, who considered them to reflect a defeatist, even apathetic, attitude. I heard them as Petra's characteristic unguarded honesty. And I also thought they had a tinge of sadness. I've said for some time that Kvitova's physical issues--chronic infections and asthma--could probably be addressed in a more successful way than they are currently being addressed. I could be wrong about this, but my instinct feels just right.
Also, whatever psychological assistance (if any) the Czech star is getting is obviously not the kind she needs. Kvitova worked for eight years with David Kotyza, who obviously coached her to greatness. But it's doubtful that she could have shown much vulnerability to a man who publicly stated that he could coach her "because she isn't like a girl." It was quite telling that in her trophy acceptance speech, Kvitova apologized for WTA players being women and "difficult." Until female players feel comfortable with being women and hire only personnel who respect them as women, a lot of problems aren't going to get solved.
Kvitova will now move to a ranking of number 11 in the world. She is 18-4 since her bronze medal run in Rio.
.@BMattek & @LucieSafarova earn third title of 2016 at @WuhanOpenTennis--> https://t.co/WyyDpycsRQ pic.twitter.com/55LzgySw9y— WTA (@WTA) October 1, 2016
Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova won the doubles title, defeating Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova in the final. In doing so, they qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore.