Kim Clijsters intended to celebrate her ascent back to number one attained this week in reaching the semifinals at the GDF Suez Open by taking the title. In the two prior meetings against Petra Kvitova, Clijsters dismissed the Czech 6-1,6-1 and 6-3,6-0. Thus, it was safe to say that Clijsters held all the cards. On this occasion, Kvitova reversed their roles and did the bullying. Kvitova trumped Clijsters 6-4,6-3 to collect her second title this season.
In the second round, Kvitova salvaged match point to advance and wiped out a 3-5 third set deficit in the quarterfinals. From the initial game, the confident Czech demonstrated she meant business. With a backhand up the line winner, Kvitova had break point. She converted thanks to a net court winner. However, Clijsters quickly rebounded by stealing the next game. Still, Kvitova was relentless forcing Clijsters to survive another break point before guarding serve for 2-1. Following an easy service game, Kvitova earned double break point when Clijsters’ forehand traveled long. On her second opportunity, Kvitova connected with a forehand return winner to bag the break for 3-2. Then, with three forehand winners, Kvitova consolidated with a love game. With her serve grooving, Kvitova rolled the rest of the set and with another love game served it out.
To open the second set, Kvitova crushed a forehand return crosscourt winner to obtain break point and later captured the game. Yet, despite having two game points, as in the previous set, Kvitova failed to maintain serve. This could have marked the time when the 20 year Czech’s crumbling started as Clijsters began to serve more effectively. Instead, Kvitova confirmed her resoluteness to completing the task at hand. After saving a 30 all game which included a double fault, Kvitova continued to use her bludgeoning strokes to put Clijsters on the defensive. Subsequent to double faulting which gave Kvitova break point, Clijsters provoked a backhand crosscourt error to get to deuce. But, by pressuring Clijsters into a forehand mistake, Kvitova secured her third break point of the game and gained the advantage when Clijsters pushed a forehand swing volley into the net. With an ace, Kvitova sealed her service game for 5-3. Serving to extend the match, Clijsters sent a backhand long to hand Kvitova championship point. However, with an ace, Clijsters got back to deuce. Next though, Kvitova pulverized a backhand causing Clijsters to lob her forehand long. Thus, Kvitova had her second match point. This time with a forehand crosscourt winner, Kvitova claimed the title, the third of her career.
In 2009, Kvitova made the headlines at the U.S. Open by defeating then world number one, Dinara Safina. Therefore, this is not uncharted territory for Kvitova. Still, the Czech admitted she was surprised by the victory. Kvitova stated “it’s nice to win against Clijsters. . . One of my biggest achievements”. On the other hand, Clijsters shared that she was not caught off guard. Despite the former scores, Clijsters said it was clear that Kvitova had the weapons. According to Clijsters, “she played consistent in her level today and deserves to win. She was definitely better”.
Clijsters is not the only one who will be moving up the rankings on Monday. Kvitova will jump from number 18 to at least 14, a career best.