Kvitova ends title drought with Wuhan win

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Wuhan (China)—Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova ended her 13-month title drought with a straight set win over Dominika Cibulkova at the Wuhan Open on Saturday.
The former world number two appeared to be in a hurry to secure the crown — her second in Wuhan — taking just over an hour to defeat Cibulkova 6-1, 6-1.
Kvitova has had a year of stark highs and lows — scooping an Olympic bronze medal but failing to get further than the round of 16 at any of the Grand Slams.
“I need this kind of consistency all year, which to be honest, I don’t think I can really do that. I’m probably the player who has up and downs,” Kvitova told reporters after the final.
“I’m happy that my ups, they are really high, which I love of course. The downs are very low, but that’s how it is.”
The year began with a split from coach of seven years David Kotyza and she has since taken an unconventional approach to her game and paired back her time on the practice court.
“I just reduced the practices and I feel a little bit better, more in love with the tennis or something,” she said.
“I mean, without the practicing, it’s not possible. But I really need to find a balance, to have some time off to enjoy a day.”
After the run of early round exits at the start of the year, she appears to have turned the tide in China and the Wuhan title will see her move to 11th in the rankings when next week’s leaderboard is released on Monday.
She also has an outside chance of qualifying for her fifth consecutive WTA Final in Singapore.
Cibulkova, meanwhile, is assured of a new career-high ranking on Monday — rising to number eight.
She also now sits at number seven on the Road to Singapore leaderboard but needs a strong run in Beijing next week to guarantee her first ever qualification in the elite eight-player event.
“I’m not thinking about Singapore that much because that would be a dream come true if I would get there,” said Cibulkova.
“I don’t want to make too much pressure on myself.”
– ‘Power player’ –
Wuhan was the fifth final of the season for the newly wed Slovak who also reached the quarter finals of Wimbledon, saving a match point in a three set thriller against fourth-ranked Agnieska Radwanska, and won two titles this year.
It marks an impressive comeback after surgery on her left Achilles tendon forced her off the court for four months in 2015.
After a three-and-a-half-hour epic against new world number one Angelique Kerber in the third round, Kvitova has looked untouchable on court — hitting 143 winners in four matches.
“She was really powerful from the first strokes. That’s how she overpowered me today,” Cibulkova told reporters after the match.
“When she’s playing like this, she can beat anybody.”
The first point of the final went to Cibulkova but Kvitova then dominated for the next three games until the Czech double faulted to concede the fourth.
The Olympic bronze medallist bagged the first set on an ace — her seventh of the match.
Kvitova was two points up in the second when Cibulkova held her service game to take the score to 2-1.
But the six-foot Czech towered over her 5’3″ opponent for the rest of the match, breaking her serve to snatch the title on the first match point.
“I think I always knew that I’m kind of the power player on the tour. But it’s always tough for me to find the balance between the power and (not missing) some easy shots,” Kvitova said.
Both Kvitova and Cibulskova now travel to Beijing for the China Open where they have first round byes.—Agencies

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