Kvitova advances to the final
Today Petra Kvitova, the last of the local players still remaining in the draw, advanced to the final of the J&T Banka Prague Open 2018. The 2nd seed stormed through the first 3 rounds of the tournament, but in her semifinal match she finally faced an opponent who gave her a real challenge. Shuai Zhang of China, the 6th seed who has participated in the Prague tournament the last few years but had never had much success here until this year. This year she finally found her form here, advancing to the semifinal without dropping a set.
Like most matches Kvitova plays, the match was on her racket, but Zhang, with her amazing defense and counter punching, posed a difficult task for the Czech to deal with. Both players were able to control play with solid serves and held their service games with relative ease. Kvitova didn’t face a single break point the entire first set. A moment of crisis for Zhang came in the 10th game. The Chinese found herself 15:40 down on her serve and had to fight off 2 break points. She rose to the challenge and won the next 4 points, leveling the match at 5:5. The next 2 games went the server’s way, and the outcome of the set had to be decided in a tiebreak. Zhang came out strong, taking what seemed like a comfortable 5:1 lead into the first changeover. Right when it looked like Zhang would be celebrating a first set win, Kvitova raised her level of play and won the next 5 points, doing so with many beautiful clean winners. Zhang managed to save the first set point she faced, but the second, at 6:7 went Kvitova’s way.The second set was a master class by the Czech, she won the set 6:0 and dropped just 6 points on the way.
This will be Kvitova’s 3rd final during the 2018 season. She will face Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania who defeated Camila Giorgi of Italy.
The second semi final was a very even contest. Giorgi started the match in impressive style, winning the first 3 games. Buzarnescu, after early troubles, found her range and managed to win the next 3 games. From then on both players managed to hold their serve until the decisive break, in the 10th game, when Giorgi dominated her opponent and closed the first set out 6:4. The second set went Buzarnescu’s way. She broke Giorgi’s serve 3 times, while losing her own just once, winning the set 6:3. The nerves of both players showed in the final set, with both players having lots of ups and downs. In the end, it was Buzarnescu who managed to hold it together, earning the win 7:5. Today was her 30th birthday, so she gave herself the perfect gift, her second career final on the WTA tour.
The final will be played tomorrow at 11:00 am. Tickets for this match are sold out.