Petra Kvitova Wins 2016 WTA Wuhan

Petra Kvitova injected some life into her efforts to qualify for the WTA World Tour Finals over the last week.

Petra Kvitova’s 2016 season has not been a memorable one for her. However, on Saturday in China the two-time Wimbledon champion showed that she’s back to playing her best tennis. She won WTA Wuhan, defeating Dominika Cibulkova convincingly in the final 6-1, 6-1.

The title won’t quite get Kvitova back into the Top 10 on tour immediately. However, the Czech player will jump over both Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams in the WTA rankings to get to the World No. 11 position. Cibulkova, for her efforts, will achieve a new career-high ranking of World No. 8 following her run to the final.

Kvitova’s form is particularly scary given that she made light work of what was a very difficult draw. The only match that she was challenged in took place in the round of sixteen, where she edged out a victory against World No. 1 Angelique Kerber. Kvitova cramped up a little toward the end of that match, one that has been mentioned as a candidate for the WTA’s match of the year.

But the Czech’s other five matches were all routine straight-sets victories. Those wins included victories over Elina Svitolina, Johanna Konta, and Simona Halep. There truly wasn’t a contender in the field besides Kvitova and Kerber, perhaps making the fourth-round match ‘the final before the final.’

Kvitova will now sit 12th in the race to the WTA Tour Finals. With Serena Williams a question mark for the remainder of the season, perhaps the magic number for qualification for the year-end event is 9th as opposed to 8th.

The Wuhan champion is expected to be in next week’sย China Open, a tournament that she has a bye in. The event in Beijing is a 1000-level tournament, making it a Premier Mandatory event (the highest except for the Grand Slams). However, playing six matches over the last several days might not sit well with Kvitova’sย body after Wuhan. She does need the ranking points to get to Singapore, the site of the women’s finals, however we’ll have to wait for news to see if her recent efforts will cause her to take the week off.

Kerber enters the Wuhan event as the top seed and, despite the setback against Kvitova last week, the German looks incredibly dangerous in the draw.

Shane Lambert