SINGAPORE - Three weeks after losing to Maria Sharapova in the Beijing final, Petra Kvitova exacted revenge in ruthless fashion.
Their meeting in the Chinese capital stretched Kvitova's winless run against Sharapova to five matches, but while the result stung, the performance imbued her with confidence for the future. She drew from this experience for their Singapore rematch, recovering from an inauspicious start to run out a 6-3, 6-2 winner.
After looking out of sorts against Agnieszka Radwanska a few days ago, Kvitova took a while to get going against Sharapova. A couple of mistimed forehands and a double fault saw her drop serve, before the Russian extended her lead with a perfectly weighted drop shot.
This would be as good as it would get for Sharapova, though. Over the next half hour Kvitova barely put a foot wrong, winning six of the next seven games as the winners began to flow. She continued to dominate in the second, riding out a late wobble to close out the match when another forehand flashed past her shell-shocked rival.
"After the first loss here, I didn’t really feel well and I’m just glad to win my second match and still have a chance of being in the semifinals," Kvitova said. "I think when we played the final in Beijing I found the confidence to play against her again.
"Unfortunately I lost over there but I knew that I had the game to beat her and today was the time to do that."
Traditionally, Kvitova has performed well indoors, her low-margin game flourishing away from the elements. Two years ago, the Czech capped a brilliant autumn with victories in the WTA Finals and Fed Cup final, and she is now eyeing up further silverware.
"I love to play indoors – it’s pretty fast, no sun, no wind. It suits my game. I’m glad that I won today and I’m looking forward to tomorrow."
Kvitova now goes into her final round robin match, against Caroline Wozniacki on Friday, knowing that a straight set win will guarantee her a place in the semifinals. Sharapova, meanwhile, must defeat Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets to keep alive not only her slim hopes of qualifying but also of claiming the year-end No.1 ranking.