Sydney - Petra Kvitova completed her
preparations for an assault on a third Grand Slam title in triumphant style on
Friday by downing fellow Czech Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (8-6) to win the Sydney
It was a contest every bit as close as the
scoreline would suggest with the two Czech six-footers pounding the ball off
the plexi-cushion surface at each other for one hour and 51 minutes.
Pliskova gave as good as she got but the
world No 4's superior second serve and greater experience of playing key
moments in big matches got her over the line.
"I'm just glad how I played
today," the twice Wimbledon champion said. "I mean, it was a very
tough match to really handle everything.
"Two tie-breakers, it's always very
difficult. Karolina played really well and she served very well and was really
Left-hander Kvitova was broken in the
opening game of the first set but got back on level terms for 5-5 with a superb
backhand pass before winning the tiebreak 7-6 when Pliskova went long.
The second set was just as tight with the
pair exchanging a single break of serve but Kvitova raised her game when it mattered
to claim her 15th career title with a 8-6 victory in the second tiebreak when
Pliskova again went long.
Kvitova will take a big confidence boost
into next week's Australian Open, where she reached the semi-finals three years
ago and will face a qualifier in the first round.
"It's nice to come into a grand slam
with a trophy and with a little bit of confidence from the matches that I
had," the 24-year-old said.
"But it's tennis, and every week is
just different. I go to Melbourne tomorrow and I need to forget about the
Sydney trophy to be ready and focused for Melbourne."
Few, however, will fancy facing world
number 22 Pliskova at Melbourne Park in the form she has displayed this week at
the Olympic Tennis Centre, especially in her semi-final humbling of fifth seed
"I'm not really sad. She was really
better today and deserved to win. It was a good match for me," she told
"I'm happy that I played a good week
here before Melbourne. It's definitely better to go there with some matches
like what I won here, good matches."