The final WTA warm-up event before the 2015 USOpen is in the books and for the 3rd time in 4 years the champion of the Connecticut Open is Petra Kvitova. The win marks Kvitova’s 3rd title of 2015 and 17th of her career. It was Petra’s 4th straight Connecticut Open final, only losing in 2013 to Simona Halep. Simona was due to be the top seed this year but pulled out prior to play beginning, leaving 2nd seed Kvitova as the top seed in the draw. She earned her title with 4 great wins. I am quite fond of Petra, so I forgive her for beating my favorite player on tour, Madison Keys, in her opening match after a first round bye. The 2-time Wimbledon champion then beat former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarters and former world #1 Caroline Wozniacki in the semis. The final was a battle of two Czech left-handers, the first all-lefty Premier level final in two years, and only the 3rd in the last 22 years, as Petra took on good friend and Roland Garros runner-up this year, Lucie Safarova.
Both ladies wore identical tennis outfits, both are tall and both are lefties. It was like watching the same person on both sides of the net. But although Lucie came out strongly, Petra just has more pop on her shots…when she’s on, that is…and eventually took down her countrywoman, 6-7 (6) 6-2 6-2. I’ve said over and over, as others have, that when Petra is on she can beat anybody, including Serena Williams…which she did in straight sets in Madrid this year. Her win over Serena was far more emphatic and convincing than when Belinda Bencic beat Serena at Rogers Cup. I don’t mean to take anything away from Bencic, but Serena helped her out with very poor play at times in the final two sets. Kvitova rolled Serena in Madrid. The problem is, from match to match…heck, from set to set…Petra’s level of play can go from all-time great to sacrificial lamb early round qualifier. Despite winning 3 of the last 4 Connecticut Opens, Petra has flamed out at the US Open the next week, having yet to make it past the 4th round. The last two years, Petra hasn’t made it out of the 3rd round. I really hope that turns around sooner or later. When she plays to her full potential only she…and perhaps a healthy, sharp Victoria Azarenka…have the tools to go toe to toe with Serena without Williams helping them out with a ton of errors. Madison Keys looks like she has the raw tools but they still need to be honed as she continues to develop her game. For now, I would love to see a US Open match between Petra and Serena where they both brought their A games. It would be one for the ages.
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2 PETRA KVITOVA (won 6-7 (6) 6-2 6-2 vs 4 Lucie Safarova)