Flavia Pennetta of Italy beat Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-4, 6-2 on Saturday to set up a final against Andrea Petkovic of Germany at the Tournament of Champions. Pennetta erased an early break in the first set and later won four straight games to take a 2-0 lead in the second. Suarez Navarro fought back to level at 2-2, but Pennetta won the last four games as well for her fourth victory in six meetings against the Spaniard.
Earlier, Petkovic defeated Spain's Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4. The fourth-seeded Petkovic dominated Muguruza at the start of the match and lost just five points on her serve in winning the first set in 24 minutes. Muguruza got an early break in the second to go up 2-0 before Petkovic rallied to win five consecutive games.
The Spaniard earned another break to cut the deficit to 5-4 but couldn't mount a comeback against the more experienced Petkovic. "I was glad I could serve really well in the end of the match and close it out there," Petkovic said.
Andrea Petkovic clawed her way back to beat Flavia Pennetta in three sets and finish 2014 on a high with the season-ending Garanti Koza WTA Tournament Of Champions title. Both players were battle-scarred going into the final - they had both lost matches in the round robin, Petkovic to Carla Suárez Navarro and Pennetta to Garbiñe Muguruza, and both were coming off long, successful seasons. It wasn't just about momentum - it was about what was left in the tank.
Early on, it looked like Petkovic had nothing left in the tank - she got just one game on the board as Pennetta cruised, 6-1, in 36 minutes. But little by little she built her comeback, breaking in the first game of the second set and riding that break all the way to the set, and after Pennetta went ahead 2-0 in the third, Petkovic reeled off six of the next seven games to seal the victory and the title. The No.4-seeded Petkovic managed to scrape past the No.3-seeded Pennetta, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3.
"I love watching Flavia play, but I hate playing her because she's so difficult to play!" Petkovic said. "I'm happy I could gather enough energy and play well enough to win it in the end." Petkovic wouldn't have been as happy with any other opponent in the final, though.
"I'm happy I met Flavia in the final because we've both been coming back from injury this year," Petkovic said. "I was so happy when she won Indian Wells because I know what she went through, and so it's even nicer to play her for this title today. I hope the next season is even better for her."
Tasked with leading the Czech Republic to victory in another home Fed Cup final this weekend, Petra Kvitova said the considerable pressure from compatriots is much less than what she puts on herself. The Czechs go after their third title in four years, with Germany on the other side of the indoor hard court at O2 Arena.
The ''beautiful memories'' of titles in 2011 and 2012, the republic's first since the end of communist rule, drives Kvitova to help set up a third victory party. ''It's not often we get to celebrate as a team. I love this competition and this team,'' the Wimbledon champion said. Despite the presence of family and friends, and huge expectations and support from fellow Czechs, Kvitova said: ''It's a lot of pressure on me in the Fed Cup, but it's more pressure from myself when we are playing at home. Everybody is expecting that I make it two points, and that's what I will try to do.''
Kvitova said she was fatigued after the WTA Finals in Singapore, where she failed to advance from the group stage nearly two weeks ago. A little rest, and the comforts of home, have reinvigorated her to put an exclamation point on a stellar season including her second grand slam title, two other titles, and more than $5 million in prize money.
Ranked No. 3, Kvitova is favored to edge Germany's Angelique Kerber (10th) and Andrea Petkovic (14th), and hope either rising star Karolina Pliskova, in her Fed Cup debut, or Lucie Safarova, who clinched the 2012 final victory, or doubles player Lucie Hradecka can come through. Prague and the indoor court don't faze the Germans, who won both of their previous ties in Slovakia and Australia to reach their first final since 1992.
Czech Republic beat Germany to win a third Fed Cup title in four years. Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova won Sunday's opening singles rubber against Angelique Kerber to give the Czechs an unassailable 3-0 lead in Prague.
Kvitova, who defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-4 in Saturday's opening rubber, saw off Kerber 7- 6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4 in a thrilling three-hour contest. Germany remain without a Fed Cup title since Steffi Graf led them to victory in 1992. The foundations for victory had been laid on Saturday when Lucie Safarova defeated Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-4 in the second singles match to put the Czechs 2-0 ahead.
No team has ever recovered from that deficit to win the Fed Cup and Kvitova was able to seal victory, though not before an enthralling encounter with Kerber. World number four Kvitova looked to be cruising when she led by a set and 3-0. But Kerber refused to be beaten and fought back to force the match into a decider.
"It was an amazing match and I'm just glad I did it," said the 24-year-old. "It was up and down from the beginning of the match and I had to fight for every single point. Maybe I was just lucky in the end. We will celebrate now." Czech Republic also won the tournament in 2011 and 2012, following five titles earned by the former Czechoslovakia between 1975 and 1988.