Montreal: Kvitova d. Wozniacki
Such a result looked very far away during the first half an hour of the match. Kvitova had to save a break point donated by a double fault in her first service game, then was quickly in trouble again on her second, saving two break points before double-faulting back to deuce. Kvitova used the drop shot well against Bartoli earlier in the tournament, but it’s a very different proposition against someone as quick as Wozniacki, as the Czech discovered to her cost when her forehand cross-court drop shot was returned with a winning angled pick-up for a break point, converted with a third double fault. Serving at 51 percent and struggling to finish points she was on top of, Kvitova was rocked by effective and determined play from Wozniacki, who was particularly impressive in attacking Kvitova’s second serve, keeping the Czech at just 33 percent of points won behind it.
Watching Kvitova, one tends to wait for the almost audible ‘click’ of the brain when the tall Czech remembers that she can beat almost anyone if she loosens up and swings freely. It came when Wozniacki, after racing to a double break, was serving for the first set as Kvitova stopped trying to go down the lines and began to look for and create cross-court angles to get Wozniacki on the move, attacking the net behind them. It got her the break and although Wozniacki immediately broke back for the set, Kvitova hit the ground running in the second, holding from 0-30 for 1-1, then breaking in the next game as Wozniacki sent a forehand long. In an inverted reflection of the first set, Wozniacki double-faulted to give up the double break and lost the set 2-6 as the heavens opened.
In an interesting contrast with Wozniacki, who received three on-court coaching visits from her father Piotr, Kvitova is in Montreal without her long-term coach David Kotyza this week. Neither the lack of her coach nor the rain delay affected Kvitova’s momentum as she broke Wozniacki immediately upon returning to the court. One can guarantee that Wozniacki will always fight gamely, but with Kvitova’s first serve working much better – 81 percent for the second set, 62 percent for the third – the Czech could dictate each rally, finding her own return rhythm and running Wozniacki from side to side, content to pressure the error out of her opponent’s forehand on those rare occasions she couldn’t find a winner of her own. Kvitova’s first serve deserted her as she served for the match at 5-2, but she struck back immediately on Wozniacki’s serve and broke to 15 for the match. Wozniacki had no answers for Kvitova’s relentless weight and depth of shot, but it won’t comfort her unduly to know that with Kvitova finding her hard-court game in the cooler conditions this week, most other players wouldn’t have had any either.