By Ros Satar, in Cincinnati

  • Kiki Bertens def. Pera Kvitova [8] 3-6 6-4 6-2
  • Levels their head to head with second win over Kvitova in as many tournaments
CINCINNATI, USA – Kiki Bertens continued her great run of form on the hard-courts as she beat Petra Kvitova for the second time in as many weeks to book a berth in her first hard-court final.

 

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Kiki Bertens def. Ptra Kvitova [8] 3-6 6-4 6-2

For the second time in as many tournaments, Kiki Bertens demonstrated why she should now be considered as all all-surface player and not just categorised as a clay-courter, as she beat the tour’s title leader this season, Petra Kvitova.

It had already been a tiring journey for the two-time Wimbledon champion to get to this point, having faced Serena Williams in her opener and a gruelling three-setter against Elise Mertens in the quarter-final. The Czech had been on court almost twice as long as Bertens coming into the match.

Bertens was the first to break having had to save two break points at the start of the set, and Kvitova had the presence of mind and spirit to break straight back before grabbing another break and serving out for the first set.

From there though, things headed south fairly quickly for the Czech who quickly found herself 0-3 down in the second set before the pair went on to exchange six break breaks of serve as Bertens levelled the match.

It was almost a mirror of the second set with Bertens jumping out once more to a 3-0 lead but this time there was no flurry of resistance from Kvitova.

Petra Kvitova in the quarter-final of the Western & Southern Open, WTA Cincinnati 2018

Petra Kvitova in the quarter-final of the Western & Southern Open, WTA Cincinnati 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photoraphy

She admitted after the match that she had been exhausted coming into the match.

“I think all season all just too much tennis for me (smiling). I was pretty lucky to win the first set, which I really had to fight for those games. In the second I was still down, and I was still fighting to get back and I just couldn’t hold the serve.

“My legs were pretty heavy. I just couldn’t really jump at all. It was very, very tiring, the second set, and I just think that I couldn’t really find energy in the third one. I was just really trying, but nothing.”

She confirmed that despite the fatigue, she still intends on playing at New Haven, although she faces Agnieszka Radwanska in the opening round.

“Well, I do have two days off now, so that’s nice. I do play Aga in New Haven, which just the imagination of it is just exhausting, as well.”

Bertens attributed her success on the hard courts down to a lot of work improving her game to be more aggressive, and more importantly to translate her game from the clay, where it is an established force, to grass and then to hard-courts.

“It’s tough. Like, for me on clay I was really used to play on clay with some heavier balls. But on the hard court, that doesn’t do so much. In the beginning of the year, I felt already that I was doing that better, but then still a lot of mistakes. I didn’t really feel it. But, yeah, now I’m getting better and better every match.”

 

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Bertens: It would be better to stop

Kiki Bertens & Johanna Larson (RU), Andrea Hlavackova & Timea Babos (Winners) at the WTA Finals, Singapore 2017

Kiki Bertens & Johanna Larson (RU), Andrea Hlavackova & Timea Babos (Winners) at the WTA Finals, Singapore 2017 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

It is hard to imagine that Bertens, now No. 12 in the Porsche Race to Singapore was contemplating stopping ironically having reached the doubles final at the WTA Finals but the feeling of winning was not enjoyment last year, but of stress, as she describes.

She explained: “I think in the end of last year I was really not happy with the way I felt. I was like, okay, I don’t want to continue like this. So if I have to feel like this all the time on the court it’s better to stop. From then on, I just made some rules for myself and with Raemon [Sliuter], like, Okay, how do you want to play? How do you want to feel on court? Okay. Let’s go for that. Yeah, that’s working.”

“The season is so long. So, at the end you’re completely dead. Of course, it was a really good thing that we reached Singapore in doubles, but, yeah, that was not a great time there.

“Of course, we made the final, but, like, mentally it was really tough. I really needed a break, needed a holiday to think about, yeah, how I wanted to continue. But I think if I was feeling the same now as how I felt last year, then it was better for me to stop, yes.

“I had some great results, but still I could not really enjoy it. So, it was always like if I won, okay, it was like more kind of a relief and not like happiness and already saying, Okay, but tomorrow I have to go again. Everything was more like, Okay, I really have to do this and not, like, Okay, it’s another opportunity to play some great tennis.”

Bertens will face the winner of the second semi-final between Simona Halep and Aryna Sabalenka.

“I think that’s going to be a great match. Halep is playing some great tennis. Won of course last week. Yeah, she’s having her shots there. But Sabalenka, also, she’s having a great year, hitting the ball so hard.

“I’m [looking] forward to whoever it’s gonna be. Yeah, I’m really happy that I’m in this final. For me, it doesn’t matter who’s gonna win.”

The women’s final at the Western & Southern Open will be played at 2pm (7pm BST).

 

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