What’s the story?
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova reaffirmed that she is the best player of 2018 by winning an incredible fourth title of the season at the Madrid Open 2018 on Saturday. The 10th seeded Czech came back from a break down in the third set to edge Kiki Bertens 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3 in the final, that made her the first woman to win the Madrid Open three times.
Kvitova has earlier had triumphs at the Spanish capital in 2011 and 2015.
The victory extended her winning streak to 11 matches as she came to the tournament, having conquered Prague just a week back. Not only that, she now also has a Tour-leading 30 wins this year, which includes title wins at St Petersburg and Doha, apart from the aforementioned tournaments.
In case you didn’t know
The former World No. 2 suffered multiple injuries to her dominant left hand during a knife attack by an intruder at her apartment in December 2016. The Czech star required a long surgery to repair tendon and nerve damage and had doubts if she would ever return to competitive tennis again.
The brave Kvitova made an emotional comeback at the French Open after just five months and won a title at Birmingham on grass just a month later, even though she could not fully close her hand by then.
The heart of the matter
The World No. 20 Bertens was contesting her first ever Premier Mandatory final, but hardly showed any nerves. In fact, the Dutchwoman was the first one to earn a service break in the 2-hour-52-minute-duel, going up 4-2 over her higher accomplished opponent.
Kvitova then battled back to level matters at 4-4 before grabbing the tight set in a tie-break.
That could not deter Bertens, who showed her firepower and resolve to draw level soon after as Kvitova’s fatigue became evident.
It was again Bertens who drew first blood even in the decider and the two kept exchanging service breaks thereafter. Finally, the Czech star seized control to move ahead to 4-2 following which, Bertens failed to penetrate into Kvitova's game any further.
Kvitova has pulled out of next week’s Italian Open due to a right hamstring injury and will look to recuperate fully in order to be ready for the French Open, starting May 27.
Kvitova is known for her prowess on grass, but the way she has been playing this season, she is definitely now one of the front-runners for the title even on the clay of Roland Garros. Her best performance at the French Open has so far been a semi-final appearance in 2012.
With a well-deserved rest post her Madrid win, the 28-year-old will surely be gunning to better her record on the terre battue of Paris.