WUHAN, China -- No. 3 Petra Kvitova won her third title of the season by defeating No. 9 Eugenie Bouchard 6-3, 6-4 to win the inaugural Wuhan Open. Kvitova became the fourth player to qualify for the WTA Finals with her title run, which culminated in her first win over a top ten player this season. The Wimbledon champion moved to 3-0 in finals in 2014 and 14-4 in finals in her career, joining Serena Williams, Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova in Singapore.
Saturday's rematch of the Wimbledon final didn't see the lights-out domination that Kvitova showed that Saturday in July, but it once again highlighted the match-up problem for Bouchard. The Canadian, playing in her third final of the season, plays her best tennis when she can be aggressive, stand inside the baseline and take the ball early. Kvitova simply doesn't allow her to do that.
"I think Petra has a big ball so it's tough sometimes to get into her rhythm," Bouchard said. "I feel like I did better than I did at the final of Wimbledon but still not good enough." It was still a positive week for Bouchard, who lost just one set through the week and beat an in-form Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals. But solving Kvitova remains a problem. "I think I maybe should have tried to go for a bit more like in the first few shots and kind of play more first‐strike tennis, because that's definitely how she plays and maybe try to beat her to the punch a bit more often," Bouchard said.
The Czech is now 6-0 in sets against Bouchard, who admitted she struggles with left-handed opposition. Kvitova's lefty-serve repeatedly pulled her out of the court to open up space for easy winners. Kvitova raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set and quickly had Bouchard on her heels. "The first game I break her was very important for my confidence," Kvitova said. "I knew that I have to play a little bit more aggressive than I played the matches before. It's going to be nothing like for Genie. So I need to play a similar game as in Wimbledon, very aggressively going for the shots."
Kvitova wobbled late in the second set and was broken at 5-2 when serving for the match. But she settled herself to serve out the match at 5-4 for her 14th career title. Kvitova finished with 30 winners to 12 winners for Bouchard, who saw more break chances than Kvitova but was only able to convert one of eight chances. The loss dropped the Canadian to 1-3 in finals. Despite the loss she'll move up to No. 7 on Monday, matching her career-high.
Kvitova's three titles are the most she's won in a single season since her breakout 2011 when she won her first Wimbledon and finished the year with six titles. An admittedly erratic player, Kvitova's prowess in the late stages of tournament is simply an issue of confidence. Earlier in the tournament she said she couldn't recall the last time she arrived at a tournament believing from the get-go that she could win. "It is I think for me the first rounds of the tournament are the toughest one. I really didn't know what's happening from the first round, and it really takes some time with my confidence. If I'm playing longer in the tournament, deeper, then I more believe in myself maybe, and I just love to play the big matches on the big stadium, and especially the finals, of course. It's something that I really always try to play the best what I can in that moment."