By Ros Satar, at the Shiseido WTA Finals 2019 in Shenzhen, China
- Belinda Bencic  def. Petra Kvitova  6-3, 1,6, 6-4
- Bencic’s win together with Kiki Berten’s win as an ALT throws the group wide open
SHENZHEN, CHINA – Belinda Bencic tackled Petra Kvitova to get her first win in the tournament, and to throw open the final day’s play.
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Belinda Bencic  def. Petra Kvitova  6-3, 1,6, 6-4
After both players started the competition with gruelling three set matches, it was going to be interesting to see who could rally the better in this second round-robin stage match. After five competitive games to start, Petra Kvitova had the first break point chance of the match but could not take it.
However, Belinda Bencic made absolutely no mistake on her first chance in the next game, breaking for the lead, and then backing that up with a break to love. Kvitova has the experience to ride these stages out, breaking twice at the start of the second for a comfortable 4-0 lead, and finishing it off having allowed Bencic one game with a final break for good measure.
The decider had plenty of nerves (of the steel and the jelly variety) with four straight breaks after the first two holds before Bencic steeled herself for a break in what would be the penultimate game.
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Bencic: ‘I saw the script, I just played’
No matter how many players swear blind they don’t think about the scenarios, they do know in some measure what needs to be done. Bencic, who was plenty clutch in the lead up to this tournament, managed to mail down her often raging emotions when it really mattered.
She said, after the match: “Somehow I didn’t even feel nervous. I had no pressure of not getting eliminated. I saw the script, like, what happens if this player wins, blah, blah, blah. I didn’t know before the matches. I just played. I knew if I don’t win this match I’m eliminated, but I didn’t think about it.”
Kvitova: ‘To be honest, I don’t want to know’
Now the situation gets interesting. With Bertens’ inclusion in the mix, on Thursday any of the four have a shot at getting in. For Kvitova, she must either beat Ashleigh Barty in two sets, or if she goes the distance, hope that Bencic wins or that Bertens manages to get the job done in three sets to avoid the percentage game equation.
However, we have seen before how this can affect players, and Kvitova has enough experience to know that it comes down to giving her all in what could be her season closer.
She said: “I don’t know the scenarios. To be honest, I don’t want to know at all. Well, should be my last match of the season. I really do my best there. We’ll see what happens.”
The Red group will play their final round-robin stage on Thursday.
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