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31 October 2011

Kvitova completes perfect preparation


NEWS ARTICLE

Photo: Paul ZimmerPetra Kvitova (CZE)

Petra Kvitova will be entering this week’s Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final full of confidence after winning the WTA Championships on Sunday and rising to a career high No. 2 in the world rankings.

Kvitova, who won her maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in July, defeated five Top 10 players on her way to victory at the year-end tournament in Istanbul, including a significant straight sets win against Russia’s Vera Zvonareva in the group stages.

The Czech No. 1 is likely to face Zvonareva again this week in Moscow, when the destination of the Fed Cup trophy will be at stake. It will be the pair’s seventh meeting, with the current head-to-head score tied at 3-3.

Kvitova also recorded round robin triumphs over Agnieszka Radwanska and world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in Istanbul, and then came from a set down to defeat reigning US Open champion Samantha Stosur in the semifinals.

In the final, the 21-year-old overcame Victoria Azarenka 75 46 63 in 2 hours 28 minutes to claim her sixth title of a breakthrough year, although the victory was far from straight forward.

Kvitova edged over the line in the first set after initially letting a 5-0 lead slip, and Azarenka continued her comeback by taking the second set. In the decider, Kvitova crucially held serve in the opening game, having trailed 0-40, and after breaking Azarenka to go 2-0 ahead, she never looked back.

Next stop for Kvitova is the Olympic Stadium in Moscow, where the Czechs are bidding to lift the Fed Cup trophy for the first time since 1988. Russia’s last victory came more recently in 2008, but Kvitova’s recent form could tip the balance the way of the visitors.

Zvonareva lines up alongside Ekaterina Makarova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Kirilenko, while Kvitova teams up with Lucie Safarova, Lucie Hradecka and doubles specialist Kveta Peschke.

The action gets under way on Saturday, but the final result might hinge on the clash of the No. 1s in the first of Sunday’s reverse singles rubbers, when Zvonareva and Kvitova are expected to resume their battle.

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