Kvitova, Muguruza to clash in Doha final; Tsitsipas vs Rublev semis in Rotterdam - GulfToday

Kvitova, Muguruza to clash in Doha final; Tsitsipas vs Rublev semis in Rotterdam

Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev in action against Jeremy Chardy during their Rotterdam ATP tournament quarterfinal on Friday. Associated Press

Petra Kvitova reached her third Qatar Open final in the last four years by defeating Jessica Pegula in the semi-final. She will face Garbine Muguruza in a rematch of the 2018 final, after Victoria Azarenka withdrew from their semifinal due to a back injury.

The two-time major champions clash in the final in a rematch of this event’s 2018 championship match when Kvitova defeated Muguruza.

Muguruza advanced to the final without striking a ball, as No.8 seed Azarenka withdrew from their semifinal clash due to a back injury.

Kvitova claimed victory over Pegula in 78 minutes to move into her first final since her run at this very event last year. It was Kvitova’s second win over Pegula in their two meetings, following the Czech’s straight-set win in the third round of last season’s US Open.

Kvitova’s powerful play garnered her 26 winners on the day, equaling her unforced error count. It was enough to garner her six breaks of the Pegula serve off of her 11 break points.

Pegula, the first qualifier to ever reach the semifinals in the tournament’s history, saw her run come to an end after her 28 unforced errors outpaced her 17 winners.

Kvitova held break leads of 2-1 and 4-3 in the first set, but each of those times, Pegula’s piercing groundstrokes were able to force errors from the hard-hitting Czech and pull her back on serve. However, Kvitova broke again to lead 5-4 with deep and powerful returns, and she was finally able to consolidate a break in the next game, easing to a one-set lead.

It was Pegula who picked up early leads in the second set, moving ahead by 3-0 and 4-2 before Kvitova steered the set back in her favor. A thunderous game, starting with a forehand winner and ending with an ace, brought Kvitova back to level footing at 4-4, and she used more big hitting to keep up her momentum, ultimately winning the final four games of the match.

Kvitova will now aim for her 28th career WTA singles title, and her first since she triumphed in Stuttgart nearly two years ago.

TSITSIPAS SETS UP RUBLEV SEMIS IN ROTTERDAM: Elsewhere in the Netherlands, Stefanos Tsitsipas came within a point of a 1-4 deficit in the third set, but battled back to beat Karen Khachanov in the Rotterdam ATP quarter-final on Friday.

The Greek star will meet 23-year-old, Andrey Rublev, in the semi-final on Saturday. The Russian himself was pushed to the limit by France’s Jeremy Chardy in 3 long-drawn sets before prevailing 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 in the second quarter-final.

Second seed Tsitsipas improved his perfect record to 3-0 against Khachanov in their ATP Head2Head series after a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory at the Rotterdam Ahoy over two hours and 42 minutes.

“He was playing great tennis and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to compete,” said Tsitsipas.

“I had an amazing 5-0 lead in the second set and that brought a lot of confidence into my game. We had great rallies and the quality of tennis was excellent. You need to stay as calm as possible in three-setters. I have won a lot in the past and with experience, it gives me an idea of how to play in these tight moments.”

The 22-year-old Tsitsipas, who hit 28 of 46 winners off his forehand wing, started brightly, but Khachanov bounced back from a 0-2 deficit with a high level of tennis. The Russian secured the 46-minute opener after Tsitsipas hit a forehand into the net.

Tsitsipas hit 17 winners in the second set, rushing out to a 5-0 advantage after the Greek tightened up his serve. Khachanov had three points for a 4-1 lead in the third set only to see Tsitsipas recover.

Tsitsipas clawed his way back and his forehand did the damage to break Khachanov at 5-5 in the decider en route to his ninth win in 10 matches this season.

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