Agnieszka Radwanska fell out of the running for the US Open Series bonus and the Connecticut Open Friday. The 25 year old Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic won a tight straight sets match 7-5, 6-4 on center court at the Connecticut Tennis Center on the campus of Yale University. Her 36 winners in the match were the core success of her being able to continue her defense of the title in New Haven
Radwanska remained the only player who could clinch the amount of points needed to win the US Open Series. Since the exit of Karolina Pliskova, the Pole would be guaranteed a bonus depending on far she goes into the final Grand Slam of the season. One million dollars is most possible to collect if the tournament is won.
In what became their eighth meeting, the Czech has a game capable of defeating the Polish tennis star again. It becomes most important for the defending champion who looked to repeat and capture a third title. Last year they met at the WTA Championships where Radwanska took the victory in straight sets.
Though she holds no strength over Kvitova, the progress shown on court over the last month has been that of a player destined to be the best. Kvitova lost the last three matches she’s been in with little time on court since. With plenty on the line for both ladies, the key will be to stay tight on both sides of the ball and prevent a fall on the score.
The two opened scoring by breaking the others serve showing the strength of their defense. They immediately got into their comfort zone feeling each other out to hold serve and stay even. The tie flowed through six games with Radwanska having a slight edge. The points keeping her in it were due to the Czech’s unforced errors causing the two to play Game Six on deuce. With a newfound challenge in the set, it caused a precedent that would take the games to their full potential.
A long seventh game between the two had an up and down performance from Kvitova that kept them at deuce. For over ten minutes there seemed to be no end to it, but a 20th unforced error from the Czech but the game to rest giving Radwanska her first lead of the set. She opened the lead to a pair holding serve in the eighth that gave her the chance playing for the set.
Kvitova staved off the loss in Game Nine despite losing out on two points that were ultimately replayed. Though they were in favor of Kvitova, her efforts to hold back Radwanska worked for the time. The Pole took a second chance with her hands on the ball. In a sudden turn of events, Kvitova pulled off a strong triple break to even up moving the set forward.
She then completed a love service on Radwanska to take the lead before clinching the set with a double break that gave her control in the match. Kvitova had a total of 23 winners against the Pole that negated her slip of committing 27 unforced errors.
With a new set to make something of it, Radwanska opened service with a game winner followed by Kvitova pulling off the same feat. The trade off of victories continued on between the two stars with the Czech hanging on to a slight advantage. Radwanska was on the downside of the scoreboard trying to even up at four games all. She opened to a 40-0 lead on Kvitova, but found her serve getting the best of her. She was able to keep her hold of serve and level after the eighth but with the Czech closer to the match win, time to make mistakes had to come to an end for the Pole.
It didn’t, as her returns against Kvitova suffered giving her a 5-4 lead in the set to play for the match in the tenth. Radwanska tried to work in her second serve, as the first shot wasn’t up to par at the critical moment. Instead she allowed the Czech to determine her finish on the return. On match point, Kvitova watched Radwanska blast the ball into the net ending the match and her hopes for a bonus in New York.
“It’s best preparation I can have before the US Open and I was struggling two weeks before but I am finding my rhythm here so I’m really happy that I’m still in the draw,” Kvitova told Rennae Stubbs of ESPN.
The 1 hour and 41 minute duration gave Kvitova another big win for her career and at the open. It was her 15th of 16 matches that she has won in Connecticut. “I was glad to have dictated the game and tried to be patient because it’s kind of tricky against her and had to make it work to beat her in the end.”
There would be more to win, as she will take on the winner between Caroline Wozniacki and Caroline Garcia on Friday.