MASON, Ohio, USA ( Associated Press) – Petra Kvitova defeated Madison Keys 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday to reach the final of the Western and Southern Open, where she will take on Caroline Garcia.
The 32-year-old Kvitova had never made it to the semi-finals in the last 10 matches in this tournament. This is the 40th career final of the Czechs.
Garcia also provided a surprise by qualifying as Cincinnati’s first runner-up.
“It’s nice to have this experience even at my age,” said Kvitova, smiling. “In my career I’ve played many finals, but never here. It feels different, because it’s my first time in Cincinnati.”
Kvitova nearly crashed out in the first round. He had to defend himself from a match point against last year’s finalist Jill Tekman.
Similarly, he needed three sets to defeat Tunisian Ons Jabur (seeded 5th) in the third round.
“It’s like a second chance in which one was almost out and now he is here, playing in the final,” he said.
The 2019 US champion Keys of Cincinnati defeated three Grand Slam tournament winners this week but could not resolve the duel against Kvitova.
The 28-year-old Garcia of France defeated Aryna Sabalenka (sixth) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 for the seventh time in a row.
The match was interrupted twice by rain. The break was a total of four hours.
The first moto went to Garcia, but then came about two and a half hours late, and Sabalenka forced a third set.
Rain was interrupted for the second time in the third set, when García was leading 3–1. But once action resumed, she quickly overtook the Belarusian, winning back-to-back games to become the first player from qualifying to reach the final of a WTA 1000 event.
“Nobody expected it, of course,” Garcia said. “It is a long road from that stage to reach here. You have to take it one game at a time, get the best out of each game and improve throughout the tournament.”
This will be the ninth meeting between Kvitova and Garcia. The Czechs have won five, including two in straight sets in Miami and Madrid.
“He’s a great champion,” admitted Garcia. “You have to play fast and move better on the pitch against that kind of player. It will be a big challenge for me to face Petra.”