MONTREAL (AFP) –
Former Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova claimed her first title of 2012 as she won a battle of ex-grand slam champions, beating China’s Li Na 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 at the Montreal Masters.
Kvitova, the fifth seed, rode a roller coaster in the 62-minute opening set which featured 17 break points between the error-prone pair with a dozen of those saved.
The momentum shifts were fast and frequent in the opener, with the 22-year-old Czech and her Chinese opponent, who won Roland Garros last season, exchanging the lead back and forth. Kvitova finally took the early lead on a fifth set point in a monster final game.
Dropping the first set seemed to spur on the 30-year-old Li, who had come from 5-1 down in her semi-final win over Lucie Safarova. The Paris champion broke to start the second set and squared at a set each in another quick half-hour second set.
The pair settled in during the third set, with Kvitova earning a break for 4-2 and lifting the trophy three games later on her first match point after two and a quarter hours.
She ended with six double-faults while losing her serve four times on the way to victory.
World number 11 Li has how finished runner-up three times in 2012 (Sydney and Rome) after coming up short in a final scheduled for Monday night so as not to clash with the closing of the London Olympics on Sunday.
The pair now stand level at two wins each in their series which began in 2011.
Kvitova earned a personal best in North America as she played her first final on the continent after never advancing past a quarter-final before.
The 22-year-old won her 34th match of the season against 11 losses as she earned her eighth career trophy.