Western & Southern Open: Petra Kvitova overcomes Madison Keys to reach final
Cincinnati (USA): Petra Kvitova reached the Western & Southern Open final after overcoming 2019 champion Madison Keys 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-3 in their semifinal showdown, here on Saturday.
The win also marked the 40th WTA Tour singles final of Kvitova’s career. Kvitova, who is 29-10 in finals, will aim for her 30th career singles title on Sunday.
The world No. 28 from the Czech Republic took 2 hours and 18 minutes to outlast American Keys, ranked 24th, in a battle between former Top 10 players and power hitters.
Kvitova and Keys came into their latest clash with a deadlocked 4-4 head-to-head. Their most recent meeting took place in the first round of this event one year ago, where Kvitova triumphed in straight sets.
After barely dropping the first-set tiebreak, Kvitova rebounded to take another Cincinnati victory over Keys and edge ahead in their rivalry. It marks the Czech’s first win in a Cincinnati semifinal, having previously lost in this round in 2012 and 2018.
With the win, former World No 2 Kvitova is projected to rise back into the Top 20 in Monday’s singles rankings. Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova had fallen to No.34 earlier this year — her lowest ranking since 2010.
Despite the loss on Saturday, Keys posted another stellar showing in Cincinnati this week, including a Round-of-16 victory over top seed Iga Swiatek for her first win over a current World No 1 player. Keys also beat reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the quarterfinals.
After splitting the first two sets, Kvitova fired a massive forehand return to break Keys in the opening game of the decider. Keys nearly pulled herself back on serve with a 0-40 lead on Kvitova’s serve at 4-3, but the Czech powered her way out of peril to hold for 5-3 and maintain her break advantage.
In the next game, Keys used a forehand winner and a stunning serve to erase the first two match points she faced, but a blistering Kvitova backhand return gave the Czech her third match point. That one proved to be the charm after Keys sent a forehand wide to end the big-hitting affair.
Keys had four more winners and four fewer unforced errors than Kvitova on the day. But Kvitova was more successful on break points, converting five of 12, while Keys went 2-for-8.