Every time I think I’m ready to give up on the potential of Petra Kvitova, she has a week like this where not only does she win, she dispatches top competition like the #1 player I have long thought she could be. En route to her 2nd Wuhan Open title, she had a showdown with new world #1 Angelique Kerber, taking her out 6-4 in the third set of a instant classic. Once Petra is feeling confident, watch out. She went on to mow through Simona Halep (6-1, 6-2) and Dominika Cibulkova (6-1, 6-1) for her 18th career WTA singles title. And there’s the rub for me.
At 26 years old, Petra Kvitova will be entering the 2nd half of her career next year. 18 titles is a lot, but I look at two of my other all-time favorites, Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova. Masha has 35 titles (including 5 Majors) at 29, and that includes missing huge parts of several seasons with injury…not to mention her current suspension. Kim Clijsters won 41 titles (including 4 Majors) despite retiring early, having a child, coming back and then retiring young again (Kim is only 33 now having retired a few seasons ago, younger than Serena Williams). Both Clijsters and Sharapova were world #1s. As much as it hurts me to say this, because I’m such a big Kimmie and Masha fan, Petra Kvitova is more talented than both of them. But unless she plays like she did this week in Wuhan on a more consistent basis, she won’t come close to matching their achievements. Why does that matter? It doesn’t. She can keep on as she has. It’s just as a fan of tennis, when you see somebody with this kind of special ability, it’s only natural to want to see it fulfilled. Think of it this way, at 26 and healthy, Kvitova was seeded 14th in Wuhan. 14th! She was seeded lower than Cibulkova. At this point in her career, there is no reason for Petra to be seeded or ranked (16th) that low.
Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to see Petra win again. I’m always thrilled to see her succeed, just as I am always thrilled to see my current favorite doubles team, Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, win another championship together. Seeded 5th, Team Bucie took out the 3rd seeds, Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova, 6-1 6-4 in the final. Fresh off their US Open title (their 3rd Major doubles title together), Safarova and Mattek-Sands will be heading to Singapore for the WTA finals, despite only playing seven events together this season.
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE
5 LUCIE SAFAROVA/BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS d. 3 Sania Mirza/Barbora Strycova, 6-1 6-4
14 PETRA KVITOVA d. 10 Dominika Cibulkova, 6-1 6-1