Istanbul Day 5 – Azarenka and Kvitova into Final

The final at the YEC will be played between the two best players of the week as Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova won their semi-finals on Saturday. Petra Kvitova was first into the final with a 5-7 6-3 6-3 victory over Sam Stosur. I felt this match was on the cusps of being a very good match, but just failed to deliver slightly although i’m glad we got a competitive match. Kvitova started the much brighter of the two and got the early break. Her serve was causing Stosur all sorts of problem, in particular the left out swinger to Stosur’s backhand. At 4-2, Stosur started to get a read on the serve and was returning much better and managed to get the break back with some thumping winners. Kvitova seemed to get a bit nervous and almost passive (if that is at all possible!) as Stosur started to get Kvitova on the run and force more errors from the Czech. Stosur managed to break again and take the first set, 7-5.
It looked like Stosur might run away with it, but Kvitova showed what a great competitor she is as she saved break points to hold at the start of the second set. Kvitova then went on a tear as everything seemed to drop in the court for her. The intensity on Stosur’s serve also dropped as Kvitova caused problems in every one of her service games before comfortably wrapping up the second set, 6-3. Kvitova was on top form as she raced into a 5-0 lead in the third set. Stosur did provide a mini fightback winning three games from 5-0 to 5-3 but she had left herself with too much of a mountain to climb. If only she had raised her intensity at an earlier stage of the third set she might have got back into it, but Kvitova completed the victory holding to love.
In the other semi-final, Victoria Azarenka overcame Vera Zvonareva, 6-2 6-3 in a low key affair. The match was closer than the scoreline suggested but Zvonareva committed far too many errors in another disappointing performance from the Russian. In the first set, although Zvonareva looked to do more with the ball than Azarenka, she made 22 unforced errors to just 8 from Azarenka. Zvonareva looked to be building in the 2nd set and she saved numerous break points in a mammoth third game that lasted 12 minutes. However she then wasted break points on the Azarenka serve in the next game with some criminal errors and from then on, the match slipped away from her grasp.
Azarenka in truth was disappointing but was more solid than Zvonareva and played the big points much better. Azarenka will have to step up her game and be more aggressive against Kvitova who will not give her such an easy ride. It was the final that most people wanted (and I predicted yay :D) and as ever, I hope its a good one. I do fear though that Kvitova is going to be too strong for Vika and run away with the title and the number two spot in the world…
Prediction – Kvitova to beat Azarenka 6-3 6-4

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