February 22, 2019 / 4:49 PM / 4 months ago

Tennis: Kvitova downs Taiwan's Hsieh to reach Dubai final

Tennis - WTA Premier 5 - Dubai Tennis Championships - Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates - February 22, 2019 Ukraine's Elina Svitolina in action during the Semi Final against Switzerland's Belinda Bencic REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

(Reuters) - Second seed Petra Kvitova recovered from a set down against Hsieh Su-wei to end the unseeded Taiwanese’s run at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday with a 3-6 6-2 6-4 victory that saw the Czech reach her third final of the year.

Kvitova, who made an astute tactical adjustment midway through the match that changed the course of the contest, will face either defending champion Elina Svitolina or unseeded Swiss Belinda Bencic in Saturday’s final.

Hsieh, who knocked out Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber and fourth seed Karolina Pliskova during her remarkable run to the semi-finals, kept Kvitova guessing with her unorthodox shot selection and soon had the world number four on the back foot.

Two-times Wimbledon champion Kvitova is one of the hardest hitters in the women’s game, but found herself outwitted by Hsieh in a tense first set and the Czech’s frustration showed as she made 12 unforced errors to Hsieh’s one in the opener.

Kvitova, this year’s Australian Open runner-up and the champion in Dubai in 2013, switched things up in the second set, stepping up well within the baseline to take time away from Hsieh and rushing to the net behind her own powerful serve.

The new approach paid dividends and Kvitova began reeling off winners at will as she raced into a 4-1 lead before claiming the set to force a decider.

The pair began the third set with an exchange of service breaks, but Kvitova broke again and then held her serve to get in front before wrapping up the win.

In the end, for all her guile and improvisational shot-making, Hsieh had no answer to Kvitova’s raw power, mustering just 14 clean winners compared to 48 from her opponent.

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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