Saturday, September 28, 2013

Kvitova wins Toray Pan Pacific Open

Petra Kvitiova won the Toray Pan Pacific Open today, defeating Angelique Kerber in the final of the the event's 30 anniversary. The victory was a portrait of both the truly great player Kvitova became in 2011, as well as the inscure, error-prone player she became following her banner year. She defeated Kerber 6-2, 0-6, 6-3, and the scoreline paints the portrait.

Kvitova swept through the first set, hitting winners into both corners and comporting herself easily at the net. She so dominated Kerber that it would have been easy to think that she was actually going to get off the court with a straight sets win. But hey--this was Kvitova, and this was a big match. There was still time for her to lose her way. And lose her way she did (following a between-sets chat with her coach--just saying). Second set Petra was an error machine whose clumsiness boosted Kerber's confidence, which is really all that the German needed to bring up her own level.

So befuddled was Kvitova that Kerber was able to take the second set 6-0 while hitting only a few winners.

But we knew how it would end. Kvitova raced to a 4-0 lead in the final set, Kerber then made things harder for her, but--on her fourth match point--Kvitova won her second title of the year, and the 11th of her career.

It had been four years since two leftys contested a WTA fnal, and 20 years since two of them contested a big (what we now call "premier") final: In 1993, Martina Navratilova defeated Monica Seles for the Paris indoor event final.

Cara Black and Sania Mirza won the Tokyo doubles title. They defeated Chan Hao-Ching and Liezel Huber 4-6, 6-0, 11-9. This win gives Mirza four doubles titles for the year.


Jim Lumpkin said...

Kerber helped Petra to lose her way. Odd to say, but that is what Angelique excels at doing. She is the best retriever on the tour. Pattern in set 2: Kvitova hits a rocket at Kerber, then another, then another... they all come back... somehow...Kvitova blows it by being impatient, hitting long. Everyone should know by now that Kerber will make you hit back two or three balls on shots that you thought were winners. So why do many fall into this trap by losing patience? It's easy to see what is going on as a spectator. Just sayin'...

Diane said...

Certainly true, and somethingfor which Petra should have beeb totally prepared :(

Anonymous said...

I was amazed at how many balls were hit back by Angelique from odd foot positions and strange looking strokes or just plain blocking the ball back randomly. She is the best retriever I've ever seen. But I agree, Petra should have known that the second set would be based on that and that alone, since trying to hit with Petra had not worked at all. Odd though, as someone pointed out, that Petra's coach visited her between the first and second sets, and obviously, did not remind her of what was a 100% certainty soon to come in set 2.

Karen said...

That is the reason why I really hate watching Kerber play. At least when Aga retrieves she does it with style, Kerber just plays ugly tennis in order to get a win. She reminds me of Clijsters in a way, just chasing down balls to get an error

Diane said...

Kerber really is a wall, but a moving wall. I wish she would expand her game. Maybe she could use a new set of coaching eyes.

The Kvitova second set meltdown is psychological; if it weren't Kerber, it would have been someone else. There is some strange stuff going on.

sunny nine said...

I agree with Jim, Kvitova often became impatient in the second round. She wasn't taking her time-you could tell by the way she was wildly hitting.

We noticed her coach during that time looking weird with a furrowed brow and shaking his head. I don't think that it the correct message to send to a player. A coach needs to look stone faced or cheer the person on.

Karen, winning doesn't need to be pretty. ;) Kerber grinds it out and if it works for her, so be it. If you saw her play Wozniacki you would have seen her make 37 winners. Her forehand on the run was beautiful and some of those winners were worthy of being the shot of the match or week on some blog somewhere. In fact, I felt bad for Wozniacki (I enjoy both players) because she was hitting winners (28) and was coming to the net (2 things pundits tell her to do) yet didn't win. In fact it is one of the cleanest matches I have seen in awhile. Both players owned positive winners-to-UFEs differentials and nice percentages on net points.

Also, remember that Kerber beat Radwanska in the quarters. The way Kvitova was hitting most people would have to be a wall. But Kerber is not just a defensive player. She does hit winners. She didn't beat S. Williams at Cincinnati last year by just blocking.

Diane said...

I actually remember Kerber from before she became a famous player. She was always a big hitter who could wear out opponents. I hope she hasn't hit a plateau; I think she could do more.

Petra's 2nd set behavior was just like she used to play before she rose up the rankings. That fast, wild hitting was quite characteristic of her; I think it comes out now when she's under stress. I remember, years ago, thinking--if that Kvitova could ever calm down, she'd be killer. Oh, Petra.

Doug said...

Kerber counterpunches well and hits winners. She sets up her chances to hit out by being a wall. Watch the Tokyo match. There are stretches where she is hitting from a squat or stabbing at the ball, not stroking it at all. It's amazing that she gets those balls into the court. Serena, by the way, is good at this too, especially on balls hit right at her. Kerber performs this feat whether it's at her or away from her. It's an amazing ability. And yes, she can go from pusher/retriever to offense when she does have time to stroke the ball. It must be maddening to play her. A better coach would have told Petra to expect this in the second set. He did not and it took Petra a whole set to figure out what to do.