NEW HAVEN, US: Second-seeded defending champion Petra Kvitova clinched her third WTA Connecticut Open crown here on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) with a 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-2 victory over Czech compatriot Lucie Safarova.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova extended her unbeaten record over fourth seed Safarova to seven matches, a winning streak that began with her first victory over her fellow left-hander at New Haven in 2012.
Safarova showed signs she might just break Kvitova’s dominance over her on Saturday after making a bright start in sweltering conditions as the two players prepared for next week’s US Open.
A grueling first set turned into a battle of nerves, with neither player yielding an inch to force a tiebreak.
Kvitova saved two set points at 6/4 down in the tiebreak but Safarova roared back to win the next four points to take the first set.
However Safarova’s previously impregnable service game deserted her in the second set, Kvitova setting up her first break point of the match with a sumptuous forehand down the line.
Kvitova duly converted the break point to go 2-1 up and then held to move to 3-1.
A further break gave her a 4-1 lead, which she never looked like relinquishing; the remaining games going with serve as she leveled the match at one set apiece.
Safarova was soon in trouble again in the deciding set, conceding another break to slip to 2-1 down as a confident Kvitova kept her on the rack with some crisp ground strokes.
Safarova’s shaky serve let her down again in the seventh game, Kvitova clinching another break to take a 5-2 lead, before holding serve for the match.