Coming into the tournament, many were unsure of how Petra Kvitova how will play headed into St. Petersburg. The Czech wildcard capped off a stunning week of world-class tennis that she has shown she is capable of by thrashing defending champion Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 6-2.
Masterful Kvitova Takes Opening Set
Kvitova cruised in her opening service game, holding at 15 and quickly began to apply the pressure to Mladenovic in her opening service. Many could sense that the long match against Daria Kasatkina in the semifinals was taking its toll on the Frenchwoman.
Mladenovic saved two break points before holding just for one-all. A love hold for the Czech, and once again, she was all over the Mladenovic serve. A backhand into the net on the second break point gave Kvitova the opening break of the match.
Another comfortable hold for the wildcard put her up 4-1 and then the set began to unravel in a heartbeat for Mladenovic. The second serve was a problem all throughout the set for the reigning champion of St. Petersburg.
The Frenchwoman was only winning 27 percent of second serve points in the set. A forehand into the net set up a triple break point for Kvitova. A forehand return winner gave the Czech a second break and an ace plus a return wide sealed the opening set.
Kvitova Dominates Second Set To Capture Title
Kvitova struck quickly in the second set, breaking in the opening game on a backhand return winner. She consolidated the break to move to a 2-0 lead and just four games away from her first title since June 2017.
Mladenovic had to battle just to get on the board. She saved a break point to get to 2-1. It was vintage Kvitova who showed up, overpowering her opponent who could do nothing much to slow down the Czech.
Up 3-1 at 30-all, a forehand winner set up break point for Kvitova. A huge return right at Mladenovic's feet, followed by another forehand winner put the Czech up a double break. A hold for Kvitova put her up 5-1 as she looked well on her way to a first title of the year.
A love hold for Mladenovic applied some semblance of pressure on the Czech who was serving for the title. The opening two points of the eighth game went the way of Mladenovic, but Kvitova did not crack under the pressure, saving all three chances to go to deuce. A backhand winner down the line on championship point sealed the title for Kvitova as her storybook return after her attack at the end of 2016.