Kvitova Czechs in at WTA Finals with Safarova win

Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:43am EDT
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By John O'Brien

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Petra Kvitova got her WTA Finals campaign back on track with a hard fought 7-5 7-5 victory over Czech compatriot and Fed Cup team mate Lucie Safarova to record her first win of this year's elite eight-woman event on Wednesday.

Both women had lost their 'White Group' openers on Monday so were desperate to pick up a much-needed win and it was the double Wimbledon champion who made the most of her opportunities on the key points to emerge victorious.

"We actually are good friends from the Fed Cup, so I'm really glad the (final) is coming soon and we are going to be colleagues and not opponents," Kvitova told reporters.

"It's tough to play her... not only because she's like a very good player right now, in good form, but also playing a friend is a little bit tougher with emotions and everything.

"So it's not easy to handle all this kind of stuff."

The powerful left-handers took to court in identical outfits and were also almost impossible to separate on the scoreboard, with each player racing through their service games in a tight first set high on winners and low on unforced errors.

Kvitova appeared happy to keep the points short to conserve energy as she continues her battle with mononucleosis but was jolted into life when she gave up the first break point of the match at 5-5 in the opener, staving off the threat with a crosscourt winner that she greeted with a roared "Come on!".

A pair of huge serves put the double Wimbledon champion back in front and the set appeared destined for a tiebreak when Safarova led 40-15, but the French Open finalist wobbled and Kvitova capitalised, wrapping up the opener with a big forehand.   Continued...

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic celebrates a point against compatriot Lucie Safarova during their women's singles tennis match of the WTA Finals at the Singapore Indoor Stadium October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su