A MERE 48 hours after seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander tipped her to succeed Caroline Wozniacki as world number one, Petra Kvitova showcased the determination and big match temperament the Swede believes sets her apart from other pretenders to the throne.
The 21-year-old entered yesterday’s final of the WTA Championships in Istanbul hopeful of placing a joyous exclamation point at the end of a truly remarkable season.
Having begun the year on the edge of world top thirty, victory against Victoria Azarenka would vault the Czech to within an arm’s length of Caroline Wozniacki at the summit of the world rankings and take her season’s earnings beyond the $5 million mark.
Azarenka, however, also aspiring to second place in the rankings, wasn’t about to let the youngster have it all her own way, and stormed back from 5-0 down in the first set to force her opponent into a lengthy, high-quality dogfight.
Though the Belorussian succeeded in claiming the second set, it was Kvitova who proved most resilient under the elevated pressure of the decider.
After saving four break points in the opening game, she immediately succeeded in capitalising on a lapse in concentration from her opponent to open up a 2-0 lead.
By the time 2-0 became 3-0 minutes later, Azarenka had, in spite of her best efforts, ceded what would prove an insurmountable advantage.
Kvitova ran out the eventual winner 7-5 4-6 6-3 to claim her sixth title of the season.