The final Premier Mandatory event of the year concluded in Beijing as Maria Sharapova edged Petra Kvitova, 6-4 2-6 6-3 in the final. It took a while to get going, but the third set was a very enjoyable watch. It had a fabulous intensity to it with Sharapova her usual committed self, but Kvitova was squawking back with interest in the third set. It wasn’t a particularly good first set with both players cancelling each other out and many of the points being won on errors as opposed to unforced errors. Petra was much more aggressive in the second set, meanwhile the third set was the most balanced and entertaining of the match.
This was a big week for Sharapova. It was her first final since Roland Garros and her first hard court victory since Indian Wells in 2013. By virtue of this win, she moves up to number two in the world. Her form has been patchy since the clay court season, but this was the perfect result for her with Singapore just around the corner. Kvitova has had a tremendous two weeks and she fought admirably in the final and made Sharapova win it. Since Wimbledon, there were a few stutters with early exits in Montreal and Cincy. She also suffered an early exit to Aleksandra Krunic at the US Open; however when you look at all her results since SW19, her performances have exceeded my expectations. Kvitova is still on the list for Moscow, which is next week. I’m really hoping Petra doesn’t play and fully rests up for Singapore. I’ve got high hopes she is going to finish the season on a brilliant high.