MADRID (AP) — Petra Kvitova eased to her second Madrid Open title when she beat an unwell Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-2 in the final on Saturday.
A day after ending Serena Williams’ unbeaten start to the year, Kvitova’s powerful groundstrokes and fitness overwhelmed her Russian rival to add the championship to her 2011 victory.
“It was an amazing week for me, and I’m really happy to stand here for the second time, in this beautiful court,” Kvitova said after her 16th career WTA title.
Kuznetsova looked off color, called for a physiotherapist twice, and was visited by the tournament doctor. Just before the final game, she was allowed by the chair umpire to go to the dressing room.
At the award presentation Kuznetsova, who took out defending champion Maria Sharapova the day before, apologized in Spanish to the spectators that she had not been able to play a good match.
“I’m sorry the level wasn’t very high, but I promise to come next year and play better,” said Kuznetsova, raising a cheer.
On the men’s side, Rafael Nadal reached his seventh final at the Madrid Open by defeating Tomas Berdych 7-6 (3), 6-1.
Yet to drop a set this week, Nadal will face 2008 champion Andy Murray, who eliminated last year’s finalist, Kei Nishikori, 6-3, 6-4.
Nadal has won the last two Madrid Opens, and will attempt to win his fifth overall.
He found the lines against Berdych, who beat him in the Australian Open quarterfinals, down both lanes with unerring accuracy, and forced Berdych to cover a lot of ground.
Nadal thanked the cheering fans, saying, “You don’t know what this means to me.”
He said when he arrived in Madrid he wasn’t sure he would be able to pass the first round, but that Saturday’s match was the best he’d played all year.
“This week was vital for me, and being in the final is a superb bit of news for me,” Nadal said.
He ended a nine-month title drought with victory in February in Buenos Aires, and came to Madrid having lost to Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlos semifinals, and Fabio Fognini in the Barcelona third round. Three losses on clay this year were his most in a single season in 12 years.
“At this level, all rivals are complicated, even when you come up against them with a positive attitude, but when you arrive after an irregular phase, they become even tougher,” he said.
“One has to work hard to change that mindset, and develop a more positive outlook. Winning helps change that, and I’m doing all I can to do that.”
Nadal, 15-5 up on Murray, meets the Scot for the first time since the French Open semifinals.
“I’d imagine most of the crowd will be for Rafa. You know, I’m a great fan of his, he is a great competitor,” Murray said. “It’s going to be a great test for me.”
Murray and Nishikori met with unbeaten clay-court records this year. Murray broke Nishikori four times, and won when the Japanese player netted a shot during a fast-paced rally.
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