• Kvitova sets finals match vs Safarova

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    Caroline Wozniaki of Denmark congratulates Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic after their semifinal round match of the Connecticut Open at Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale on Saturday in New Haven, Connecticut. AFP PHOTO

    Caroline Wozniaki of Denmark congratulates Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic after their semifinal round match of the Connecticut Open at Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale on Saturday in New Haven, Connecticut. AFP PHOTO

    NEW HAVEN, United States: Second-seeded defending champion Petra Kvitova defeated four-time winner Caroline Wozniacki on Friday (Saturday in Manila) to set up an all-Czech finals against Lucie Safarova at the WTA hardcourt tournament in New Haven.

    Kvitova, winner of the US Open tune-up event in 2012 and 2014, roared back from a 5-3 deficit in the first set— saving one set point—to defeat third-seeded Wozniacki 7-5, 6-1.

    “A most difficult first set,” Kvitova said. “I was really focusing and every game was so close — a few points and it would have been on the other side.”

    Wozniacki admitted that she had no answer once Kvitova got rolling.

    “The thing is, I don’t think there’s any player on tour that hits it harder than she does,” Wozniacki said. “She has such good depth on the ball. If you play short she’s going to punish you straight away.”

    Trailing 4-1 in the second set, Wozniacki had her left knee wrapped.

    But with the start of the US Open coming up on Monday, the Dane said it was a familiar problem, not an injury concern for the final Grand Slam of the year.

    “It’s something that I’ve been struggling with for a couple of years,” she said. “But I just wanted to make sure it was taped because the tape was starting to loosen up a little bit. I just wanted something that was a little bit stronger on the knee.

    “But it was nothing, really. Nothing major.”

    Kvitova reached her fourth straight New Haven final, where she’ll face fourth-seeded compatriot Safarova.

    Safarova, the French Open runner-up who is ranked sixth in the world, beat Ukrainian lucky loser Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 7-6 (7/4).

    Tsurenko broke Safarova three times —saving a match point at 5-4—to force the second-set tiebreaker, but couldn’t force a third set.

    “I had to go back to basics to calm myself down,” Safarova said of thwarting Tsurenko’s bid to rally. “I just had to start to play more aggressive and go for the shots.”

    AFP

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