Petra Kvitova couldn’t remain consistent to save herself from elimination at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Tuesday night. Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki overcame losing control in the second set to defeat the fourth seed 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 on centre court at Singapore Indoor Stadium. It allowed the Dane to stay in contention in the white group with one more to play.
A 15th meeting between the two Euro stars had them returning for a second face-off this season and the third in Singapore. Wozniacki won their recent matchup four years ago to evenly split the series on the court.
The 28-year-old went down at the hands Karolina Pliskova in straight sets, needing a win to keep her hopes of defending last year’s title alive. Kvitova would also hunt down a tenth win against the Dane, after losing to Elina Svitolina on Sunday. The fourth seed had eight double faults with seven coming in the first set, and would have hoped for that to not happen again.
She opened with a service game that Kvitova attacked right away, forcing deuce, but was unable to achieve the break. The Czech made sure to hold in the following, which saw Wozniacki put down a stronger game in the third. Kvitova was put under pressure on serve in the fourth, that she managed to hold on the first break, but the leverage was in the hands of Wozniacki, who held in the fifth.
After a chat with her coach, the fourth seed laid out an offensive strategy that kept the score level. She went after a chance for the break, but Wozniacki was having none of it. She called her father and coach out for points on how to set up the counterattack going into the eighth.
The opportunity to serve for the set arrived for the Dane as she made it a tough time for Kvitova. On set point, the Czech answered with a winner far out of reach of her opponent to force deuce. She did indeed get it backing up the break to send Wozniacki and herself into extra frames.
Wozniacki got out front again, holding an important serve in the 11th that took her a couple breaks to do so. With the fourth seed under pressure, Wozniacki went after her after the break, gaining two set points. While she had just seven winners in the set, keeping the unforced errors low was huge for her as Kvitova racked up double digits on both sides of the spectrum.
The fourth seed knew that she needed a different approach and did so with a break of Wozniacki. The Dane broke back with a shutout of Kvitova, but it wasn’t enough to take anything away from her. The fourth seed gained the double break and consolidated it with a hold in the fourth for a 3-1 lead. Wozniacki showed signs of pain in her left knee, which she had treated during the changeover.
After being treated by the physiotherapist, the 28-year-old served to reel in the score, holding two game points where a challenge showed that her shot caught the line. While adding more tape to her knee, she listened to what her father had to say during the coaching call.
With a rally back, the fourth seed fired great shots to pressure the 28-year-old, and win on the second break of deuce. A hold in the eighth gave her a shot at sending the match to a decider. She locked down that opportunity with a supreme break of the Dane to even the match after 44 minutes.It was quite even going into the third.
Wozniacki started her push to holding Kvitova on serve, before consolidating it with a hold in the second. Kvitova, down two games, rallied to get herself on the board, before she and Wozniacki called their coaches during the break to get some ideas on the next step.
When it looked as if Kvitova would level the score, the Dane had the ultimate answer to take a 3-1 stance. The Czech went to her bench to get a new racket with new balls in play in the fifth.
The world number two continued to dictate the set as she had Kvitova beaten for her third straight game winner. Kvitova was on the edge of defeat, serving to extend the set and avoid elimination. A good hold in the seventh for the fourth seed came with great body serves to put the Dane away from placed winners.
She was still not out of trouble, as the 28-year-old served for the match. Keeping Kvitova down in the eighth, Wozniacki had two match points, winning it on a return error by the fourth seed, ending her run in 2 hours and 19 minutes.
“I played much better today,” Wozniacki said to Andrew Krasny after the match. “I think I returned well, served well and moved really well against Petra who is so powerful. You just have to stay on your game and you never know what’s going to happen.”
With a win in hand, she’ll await her final group match against Elina Svitolina on Thursday.