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Kvitova bests Kerber in three sets to win Pan Pacific title

Kyodo

Seventh seed Petra Kvitova defeated Angelique Kerber in three sets to win the Pan Pacific Open on Saturday at Ariake Colosseum.

Kvitova, of the Czech Republic, won 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 over fifth-seeded Kerber in 1 hour, 39 minutes to claim the tournament title for the first time.

Kvitova, who had to go three sets to knock off Venus Williams in Friday’s semifinal, will shoot up to seventh in the rankings, moving closer to qualifying for next month’s season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul.

In the first all-lefty final of a premier-level event in 20 years, Kvitova won her second title of the season following victory in Dubai in February.

“I was just lucky I did a good job at the end,” Kvitova said. “Of course, I was feeling a little bit tired. Angie came back in the match and I just tried to focus on the point at hand.

“It’s always a great feeling if you win a title at a tournament. It means a lot for me because I know every year there is a great draw. I’m glad I have some points toward the Championships.

“I still have some tournaments left but I want to focus on today. I just want to enjoy.”

Kvitova and Kerber had met three times previously — all in 2012 — with Kerber winning the last two matchups in Rome and Cincinnati.

It was Kvitova who took the first set, holding serve while breaking her German opponent twice.

Kerber, who defeated former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in two sets in the semis, roared back in the next set without giving up a single game to force a third set.

Despite five double faults, Kvitova never fell behind in the set. A tenacious Kerber fended off three match points, but Kvitova finally capitalized on her fourth attempt to take home her 11th career championship.

Kvitova played in the Pan Pacific Open for the fourth straight year. She reached the last four in 2011, but lost in the first round last year.