Kvitova defeats Pegula to set up Qatar Open final clash with Muguruza
DOHA, MAR 6: Petra Kvitova withstood some inspired tennis from Jessica Pegula and high winds to win 6-4, 6-4 on Friday and reach the final of the Qatar Open where she will face Garbine Muguruza.
Muguruza received a walkover into Saturday's title match after fellow former world number one Victoria Azarenka dropped out because of the back pain that dogged her quarter-final win over Elina Svitolina on Thursday.
Czech Kvitova's win looked far from assured when she went down 2-4 in the second set before her mistakes melted away and she made short work of her American opponent.
Number four seed Kvitova, a Grand Slam champion unlike Pegula, elected to receive after winning the toss.
But her big serve and stride seemed disrupted by the strong evening breeze at the Khalifa Tennis Complex, a stone's throw from the Doha seafront.
"It was very, very windy and it was very tough -- it wasn't about tennis it was about putting the ball into the court, and that's what I tried," Kvitova said after her win.
The confidence Pegula showed in her last-eight clash against Karolina Pliskova, who she broke nine times, shone through from the outset against Kvitova, as she negotiated the conditions to go ahead.
Kvitova broke in the third game but Pegula immediately broke back, judiciously adjusting her play to overcome the wind.
The breeze took several of Kvitova's returns wide of the mark, hampering her ability to build momentum against Pegula.
"She is improving since last year and it was already a very tough one... as we saw she can really play some volleys as well," Kvitova said.
Kvitova saw off Pegula 6-4, 6-3 at last year's US Open.
As the set progressed Pegula began to struggle with the wind and Kvitova broke in the seventh and ninth games before holding serve to claim the hard-won set. -AFP