Playing brilliant tennis over two days, Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova was crowned as the women’s champion of 2015 Mutua Madrid Open. This was the Czech’s second title after she also won the tournament in 2011. In Saturday’s final, it was literally a cake walk for Kvitova, who disposed of Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-2 in a little over an hour. Earlier in the semifinal, Kvitova had caused a huge upset by defeating world no.1 Serena Williams 6-2, 6-3 and secured her victory over the American after consecutive losses in 5 previous meetings. Until Friday, Serena was enjoying an unbelievable winning streak. She had won 19 straight matches in Madrid, 27 straight matches on the tour and 50 straight matches at Premier Mandatory-level events. Kvitova’s Russian opponent Kuznetsova had also come through to final by upsetting her compatriot and defending champion Maria Sharapova but on Saturday, the veteran Russian suffered from fatigue and muscle exhaustion, which required her to seek medical attention after the first set. In the men’s draw, Andy Murray continued his blistering form and defeated Japanese Kei Nishikori in straight sets to enter the final. The Scotsman will have a showdown with old rival Rafael Nadal, who defeated Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych in the other semifinal.
Over two days on Friday and Saturday, Petra Kvitova was in dominant form, which culminated with her second Mutua Madrid title victory at Caja Magica. In the final, Kvitova faced the Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova and walked away with title honors in an hour and six minutes. After losing the first set, Kuznetsova received on-court medical attention and continued. Playing with heavily strapped left thigh, Kuznetsova fought despite the cramps. She didn’t retire because her determination and pride came in the way. In a cruel way, Kuznetsova’s adversity helped Kvitova in an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 win. But in any case, Kvitova rode on her tremendous form that helped her cause a big upset in the semifinal against world no.1 Serena Williams. Serena was clearly at the receiving end of Kvitova’s powerful game, peppered with huge serves and fantastic groundstrokes that made the American run from one corner to another. The difference in two players’ games could be gauged by the winners and unforced errors from either side. Kvitova sent down 25 winners to Serena’s 17, while the Czech committed only 14 unforced errors as against 29 by Serena. In the other semifinal on Friday, Svetlana Kuznetsova also pulled off an upset victory over defending champion Maria Sharapova with a clear game plan. The Russian veteran executed her strategy to perfection in cruising to a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Sharapova.
In the men’s draw, Andy Murray faced Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the semifinal. It was only the second time in last 30 months that the two faced each other. They met last time in the round robin stage of 2014 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and Nishikori won that match. On Saturday, the tables were turned as the Scot played a far superior game. Murray was down a break point in the first set but he saved it and broke Nishikori in the next game. The early advantage gained by Murray proved decisive as Murray broke again to take the first set 6-3. Second set began with Nishikori changing gear and eliciting a break for a 2-1 lead. But the Scot broke right back taking advantage of Nishikori’s loose service. Murray raised his game at that point and put pressure on the Japanese. After breaking him once again, Murray finished the match 6-3, 6-4.
Murray’s opponent in the final will be Rafael Nadal, who defeated Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 7-6, 6-1. Nadal has always played great tennis at Caja Magica and it was the seventh time that he has reached the finals. The Spaniard had two break opportunities in the first set but Berdych prevented him and the set went to tiebreak. Despite Berdych’s season record of 13-1 in tiebreaks, he lost to Nadal on Saturday. In the second set, Nadal dominated the Czech and broke him twice to reach the final in an hour and 44 minutes.
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