WTA Championships 2013 Istanbul Semi-Final
N.B. 3pm local
In the first semi-final of the day, Petra Kvitova (Player Profile) will play Na Li (Player Profile) after both players won on the final day of round robin play to confirm their place in the knockout stages off the tournament. Check out the Kvitova v Li Na Head to Head.
It was a perfect 3 out of 3 for Li, who had an easy day against a clearly injured Victoria Azarenka. Although admirable she carried on, the World No.2 was unable to put up much of a fight after hurting her back and it was almost like hitting practice for the Chinese who went on to win 6-2 6-1. This saw her top the group after a three set victory of Jelena Jankovic and a straight sets win over Sara Errani earlier in the week.
In essentially what was a play-in game, Petra Kvitova came out on top against Angelique Kerber in three sets yesterday to snatch second place in the Red Group and earn this semi final place. After holding a 4-1 lead in the opening set, Kvitova will feel she should have seen this out in two but as is the Czech’s trademark these days – the match went the distance. The 6-7 6-2 6-3 win was her record setting 37th three set match this year of which she has gone 25-12. However, it was her first three-setter of the Championships, after a win over Agnieszka Radwanska in her opener before she was outclassed by Serena Williams in match two.
There is a lot at stake for Li, who can become world No.3 if she makes the final. This would make her the highest ranked Asian player ever – she already shares that title jointly with Kimiko Date Krumm at 4 but victory would make her the sole record holder for either gender.
Left-handed players have never been a constant at the back end of this tournament with Kvitova making it only four lefties since 1992 to make the semi-finals of this event. It was guaranteed with Kerber the other potential semi-finalist but Kvitova will be the one to ensure they make it 4 from 4 in semi finals after she herself was a winner in 2011 to go along with Monica Seles and Martina Navratilova losing in the finals in 2000 and 1992 respectively. Li has a good record against left-handed players going 5-1 this year (d. Lepchenko, Kvitova, Robson, Kerber, Makarova, l. to Kvitova).
It’s an exceptionally tough match to call although Kvitova’s indoor achievements are well documented with just four losses in three years on the surface and a title in 2011. The head-to-head is split right down the middle with the players at 3-3 and they have split the last three years. Li was a winner on the clay of Stuttgart this year but Kvitova gained revenge with a three set victory in Li’s home country in Beijing. It would not be a surprise at all if the match were to go three sets for Kvitova’s 38th time this year although with Serena Williams likely waiting in the wings, getting this match over and done with as soon as possible is in both players best interests.
Prediction: Petra Kvitova in three sets
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