Petra Kvitova blazed her way into her first Australian Open final with victory over Danielle Collins under the roof on Rod Laver Arena.
With temperatures soaring towards 40 degree Celsius in Melbourne, the tournament’s new extreme heat policy came into play and the roof was closed with the score at 4-4 in the first set.
Kvitova, who has struggled in the past in hot conditions, found the cooler temperatures much more to her liking and powered to a 7-6 (2) 6-0 victory in an hour and 34 minutes.
This is the Czech’s first grand slam final outside of the two Wimbledon titles she won in 2011 and 2014, and she said: “It means everything.
“That’s why I really work very hard to be in the finals of tournaments. Finally I could make it deep in this major and I will enjoy the final whatever happens. I’m really very, very happy.”
Asked about the closing of the roof, Kvitova said: “The first set was very tight, I was pretty nervous. I think I was happier than the fans that the roof closed. I like playing indoors. It was kind of warm. If it was open I was still going to fight so it doesn’t really matter.”
Kvitova had gone from being distinctly under the radar to the title favourite in a couple of days so, as well as being a physical examination, this was a test of how well the Czech could keep her mental cool.
Collins’ run has been one of the stories of the tournament and the 25-year-old, who had never previously won a grand slam match, is a confident character who was never likely to be overawed by the occasion.
She showed just that early on as she broke the Kvitova serve to lead 3-2, but the eighth seed also brings a fierce intensity to the court and there were several of her famous screams of ‘pojd'(Czech for ‘come on’) as she broke back immediately.
Collins looked unhappy about the decision to shut the roof, perhaps knowing that, as a Florida native, the heat could have given her a crucial advantage.
Still there was nothing to choose between them until the tie-break, when Kvitova stepped up to a new level and left a frustrated Collins in her wake.
The American had a brief exchange with umpire Carlos Ramos, the central figure in last year’s US Open final drama, over his decision to replay a point after an over-rule but by that point was already 5-1 behind.
Kvitova was now well and truly in her groove and Collins found herself helpless in the second set as the eighth seed blasted 13 winners in six games.
Provided by Press Association Sport
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