Petra Kvitova defeated Jelena Jankovic, 4-6 6-4 6-3 in a terrific semi-final in Linz. I thought this would be a comfortable victory for Kvitova much like her 6-2 6-2 quarter-final win over Daniela Hantuchova yesterday, but I underestimated how good Jankovic’s defence is and how she can make her opponent play one more ball. Jankovic led 6-4 4-3, but could not push her advantage through. Kvitova really turned it on at the end of the second set and into the third as she produced some crunching play from the back of the court. She was actually setting up the points well, before finding the right time to hit the winner.
Kvitova looked to be heading to a third set bagel but Jankovic competed extremely well fighting off 6 break points in a marathon game at 3-0 down. She kept holding in the match and showed some of the fighting spirit that seems to have been lost in recent years. Kvitova was inspired at times today and did extremely well to turn the second set around in one of her most impressive wins to date. Jankovic continues to show the play that got her to number one, but she has lost the mental toughness to compete at the top. She desperately needs to win one of these tight three setters and that should start to bring her depleted confidence back.
Kvitova will now play Dominika Cibulkova in the final as she swept aside Lucie Safarova in a comfortable semi-final win, 6-1 6-4. Cibulkova is searching for her first title on the WTA tour, but she will have to play a blinder or hope that Kvitova is not firing on all cylinders tomorrow. Anyway, a great match today, a good advertisement for women’s tennis and hope for more of the same tomorrow!