Osaka withdraws injured, Kvitova fights past Bertens into Stuttgart final

The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title match is set — Petra Kvitova will face Anett Kontaveit in their sixth career meeting, after the Czech battled past Kiki Bertens and the Estonian received a walkover from world No.1 Naomi Osaka.

Third seed Petra Kvitova and sixth seed Kiki Bertens took the court in Saturday’s semifinals just moments after the news about Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal became public. Namely, the top seed was supposed to face eighth seed Anett Kontaveit in the evening’s clash, but had to skip her first ever semifinal on clay because of an abdominal injury suffered during yesterday’s come-from-behind win over Donna Vekic.

Kvitova’s early lead in the first set was short-lived and Bertens later saved a set point to hold to 5-5, so we had two equal players rightfully deciding the set in a tiebreak, in which Kvitova was a more solid player.

The second set also featured an early exchange of breaks, this time initiated by Bertens, and even though the Dutch, just like her opponent in the first set, was rebroken right away, she broke again for a 3-1 lead and held on to that advantage until the end of the set.

The decider was absolutely dominated by Kvitova, who saved three break points while leading 3-0 and that proved to be the turning point. After wasting the big chance to get back into the set, Bertens quickly saw herself 5-0 down, then won one game to avoid a bagel before Kvitova confidently finished the job by holding serve at love, 7-6(3) 3-6 6-1.

There’s something special Bertens achieved during today’s loss in Stuttgart — she hit five aces and is now tied with Karolina Pliskova atop the WTA Ace Leaderboard with 127 aces. 

The 29-year-old Kvitova extends her tour-leading record in finals made this season, staying undefeated in all the four semifinals she made in 2019. The 2019 Sydney champion now also has a chance to end the historic WTA streak of 18 different champions in 18 different tournaments this season. If she doesn’t win this Premier-level title, the streak will extend to 20 on Monday.

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