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03 November 2012

Kvitova completes Czech masterclass


MATCH REPORT

Photo: Srdjan StevanovicPetra Kvitova (CZE)

GAME, SET, MATCH CZECH REPUBLIC

Kvitova d. Jankovic 64 61
What looked like it was going to be a very difficult encounter for Petra Kvitova finished off with the Czech in ascendance. With two match points there was a bit of a glitch on the first but Jankovic fires a backhand wide to end a disappointing day for the visitors.

Kvitova 64 5-1 Jankovic*
This would be the comeback to end all comebacks. At last Jankovic gets on the board in this second set and she does so with precision and ease.

Kvitova* 64 5-0 Jankovic
A Mexican wave fails to get going between service games but something that is still performing well at the O2 Arena is Petra Kvitova's serve. She holds with ease to put herself just a game away from the perfect end to a perfect day for the hosts.

Kvitova 64 4-0 Jankovic*
Wow. It's becoming a masterclass from the Czech star now. Jankovic is playing well but falls to a 15-40 deficit on her own serve. She wins the next point but then hits long to all but end any hope in this match.

Kvitova* 64 3-0 Jankovic
Just when it looked as if I had spoken too soon Kvitova comes back from 0-30 down to lead 40-30 in this 3rd game of the second set. Jankovic claws her way back to deuce but Kvitova shows a nice touch at the net to take the advantage. Jankovic wins a long exchange to keep herself alive but Kvitova keeps the momentum going with a wide service ace to consolidate her break. She is looking too good for the Serbian now.

Kvitova 64 2-0 Jankovic*
Jankovic can't seem to contend with the huge hitting from the other side of the net. Kvitova breaks at the first time of asking in this second set and looks like she has got her groove back.

Kvitova* 64 1-0 Jankovic
That's five games in a row for the Czech No. 1. If Jankovic doesn't get on the scoreboard soon she will be in danger of letting this match (and final?) slip away. No pressure then...

FIRST SET CZECH REPUBLIC 64

Kvitova 64 0-0 Jankovic*
Jankovic fires long and Kvitova fist pumps in delight as she takes the first set of this crucial encounter.

Kvitova* 5-4 Jankovic
Kvitova digs deep to win that one. Lucie Safarova appears on the big screen and the crowd goes mad. Nice to see her get the credit she deserves.

Kvitova 4-4 Jankovic*
Both team bences are on their feet as the players walk back out and it's Kvitova who makes the best of the early exchanges in this 8th game. The Czech takes the first two points before the net cord deflects her shot milimetres wide. Kvitova earns two break points at 15-40 but Jankovic holds her nerve to save both of them. The Czech has another break point which she converts after Jankovic nets an easy forehand. Back on serve.

Kvitova* 3-4 Jankovic
Important hold there for Kvitova. Sealed with an ace the Czech was made to work hard for that and another break for the Serbian would have been game over in this first set.

Kvitova 2-4 Jankovic*
The Czech brass band is playing with gusto at the change of ends. Kvitova takes a 30-0 lead on her opponent's serve but four straight points and that glimmer of hope is extinguished pretty quick . But the band keep playing.

Kvitova* 2-3 Jankovic
One has to wonder whether Jankovic has a game plan to make Kvitova expend as much energy on the court as possible. Sometimes it's difficult when she can produce winners out of thin air but the Czech is not likely to be at 100 per cent fitness after her bout of illness in recent weeks. Jankovic finds her way to break point  at 30-40 only to be aced by her opponent. A passing shot winner secures another break point opportunity before Kvitova double faults to hand the first break of this match to Serbia. The crowd is silent.

Kvitova 2-2 Jankovic*
I said in my preamble that both these players are Fed Cup forces and Jankovic just showed why she is not going to roll over in this match. Taken to deuce, the Serbian exchanges blows with her big hitting opponent and comes out on top with a deft cross court winner at the net. Lovely stuff.

Kvitova* 2-1 Jankovic
When Petra's game is on song she is all about powerful, accurate groundstrokes and that game was no different. A comfortable hold secured with a clinical forehand down the line.

Kvitova 1-1 Jankovic*
Jankovic races out to a 40-0 lead after correctly challenging a let first serve on the centre line. Kvitova wins a solitary point before slicing a backhand wide of the side line to gift her opponent her first game of the match.

Kvitova* 1-0 Jankovic
The Serbian bench are on their feet from the moment that Jankovic strides out towards the baseline but Kvitova fires down her big lefty serve from the outset and takes the first game to love.

*denotes server


15:54 Jankovic won the toss and chose to receive.

15:50 The players are out on court. Jankovic looks very focused; she can be a dangerous player when she is at her best and that is so often the case in this competition. Kvitova is all smiles - as always - as the players start their warm up.

15:41 So the stage is set for the second rubber of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final at the O2 Arena in Prague. Lucie Safarova stunned Ana Ivanovic in the first rubber with a 64 63 victory in one hour and 41 minutes much to the delight of the home crowd. Now it's up to Jelena Jankovic and Petra Kvitova to battle it out.

Kvitova won their only previous match-up at 2011 Linz, which also took place on a hard court, but the Czech has been battling an illness to prepare for this weekend's final. Both players love the Fed Cup format and have proven an unstoppable force for their countries over the last two years.

Now something has got to give and it will either be the hosts who are in a very dominant position or the visitors will be on level terms going into the final day's play. Game. On. We can't wait.

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