When Petra Kvitova and Na Li walked on to centre court in Montreal Monday night to contest the weather delayed final of the 2012 edition of the Rogers Cup, both players were gunning for their first title on the WTA tour this year. In fact, Kvitova has not been in a final all year, nor has she ever been in a final in North America. In contrast, Li fought for two titles in 2012 (in Sydney and Rome) coming into this match but lost them both; and Montreal repeated this trend.
The final was a very close run affair, with Kvitova’s winning score of 7-5 2-6 6-3 reflecting the ebbs and flows of each player during this epic final which lasted over two and a quarter hours. The first set, which itself took over an hour to complete, could have gone either way with both players serving well and hitting scintillating ground strokes and winners from everywhere on court, with Kvitova finally sealing the set on her fifth set point.
Li’s brilliant play came to the fore in the short, 30 minute second set, when she took full advantage of Kvitova’s erratic and error strewn game to win the first sixteen points, to go 4-0 up in just fifteen minutes; and take the set 6-2 in half a hour.
After Kvitova went off court at the end of the second set, she came back firing on all cylinders, having left her B game in the locker room. The two held their service games until Kvitova made the all important breakthrough in the sixth game and then held on, with both ladies playing superb tennis, to take the final set of a thoroughly worthy final.