Petra Kvitova, the 2018 champion, is through to her second Doha final after snapping a four-match losing streak against world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty on Friday. In an Australian Open quarterfinal rematch, Kvitova executed her aggressive brand of tennis to avenge her Melbourne loss, posting a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 victory for her 10th consecutive win at the WTA Premier 5 event.
Having traded breaks in the first three games, the Czech consolidated to open a 3-1 lead. The Aussie had ample opportunities in the eighth game to earn the break back but was denied by Kvitova, who was able to fend off a couple of break points, and would close out the set in 41 minutes.
Looking for some answers, the French Open champion sought advice from her coach Craig Tyzzer during the changeover.
“You’re not hurting her with your serve,” said Tyzzer. “So step up and take more risks.”
Tyzzer also told his charge, who was having trouble getting into the rallies, to start using her slice and to come in more. He also wanted to see Barty take a few more risks on the return.
Following her marching orders, the top seed held comfortably in the opening game of the second set and then picked up an early break to go up 4-1. She earned one more break in the eighth game to level the match.
In a win-or-go-home final set, the left-hander drew first blood when Barty’s backhand error enabled her to break for 3-2. It began another stretch of three successive breaks, but Kvitova held her nerve to close out the 23-year-old and move into her first final of the season. On Saturday, she'll look to lift her 28th tour-level trophy against Aryna Sabalenka, who took out Svetlana Kuznetsova earlier.
Sabalenka, the No. 9 seed, advanced, 6-4, 6-3, after 73 minutes. Kvitova won the pair's most recent encounter last year in Sydney to move ahead 2-1 in their head-to-head series.