Kvitova beats Wozniacki at WTA Championships
ISTANBUL—Petra Kvitova reached the semifinals of the WTA Championships on Thursday, dominating Caroline Wozniacki in a 6-4, 6-2 win that handed the top-ranked Dane her second loss at the season-ending tournament.
Kvitova joined Victoria Azarenka in the final four, with the Belarusian having earned a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 win over Li Na in the early match. In the day's late match, Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska beat sixth-seeded Vera Zvonareva 1-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Kvitova earned an early break in the first set and never looked troubled the rest of the way, hitting 36 winners compared to just six for Wozniacki. The Dane never earned a break point, and said she was feeling ill and tired playing her third match in three days.
"I have been feeling tired, and to get a little bit sick now, that's not the best if you want to beat the top players," Wozniacki said. "Today, Petra played well. And of course I wish I could have been 110 percent, but my body just didn't want the things that I wanted today."
Kvitova, this year's Wimbledon champion, broke two more times in the second set before clinching the victory with a backhand winner.
"It was very strange game," Kvitova said. "I mean, of course I'm happy that I won, but sometimes I felt like work on the court when I play against Caroline because I know that she's not OK."
The Czech player improved her record to 2-0 in the round-robin phase, while Wozniacki fell to 1-2 after also losing to Zvonareva on Wednesday. Wozniacki still wrapped up the year-end No. 1 ranking after Maria Sharapova withdrew from the tournament with an ankle injury following her second loss on Wednesday.
Azarenka followed her win over U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur with a victory by the same scoreline over Li, the French Open winner.
"I think she's a very, very tough opponent," Azarenka said about Li. "Especially if you give her one rhythm, she's really solid and she can stay and outpower anybody. So I had to adjust, because the last two meetings that we had she really took advantage of me playing the same way ... I had to change something and be more creative today."
Li has a 1-1 record in the White Group after an opening win against Sharapova.
Li will play Stosur on Friday, with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals. Azarenka is set to play Marion Bartoli, who replaced Sharapova, in a match that is essentially meaningless.
"I'm just going to try to use that match to work more on my game and improve little things that I could have done better today," Azarenka said. "So I'm just going to use it as an advantage for me and try my best. I always do. When I'm on the court I'm 100 percent."
Zvonareva was left to rue the missed chances after she led 40-15, at 5-3 in the third set on Radwanska's serve. A third opportunity for the Russian to close out the match also went begging after a lengthy exchange.
"When you have (a) few match points down you're not really thinking anymore," the eighth-seeded Radwanska said after her victory. "You just fight until the end ... when I served those two match points I was still, you know, in the game.
"The third match point was the toughest one. But I think she was a little bit nervous in the end."
Zvonareva blamed a lack of consistency for failing to secure a win that would have guaranteed her a place in the semifinals.
"I think a lot of the times I just didn't use those opportunities that I had, and that's it," she said. "But overall I think I was doing all the right things. I just couldn't, you know, couldn't manage to be consistent enough to beat her today."