The arduous tiebreak took a lot out of both players and they both later admitted going into the second set deflated, Kvitova more so. Kirilenko was able to break at 2-2, when Kvitova made a first serve fault, then served a second serve, which was called a fault, overturned and then challenged successfully by her opponent. Kirilenko also broke in Kvitova's next service game to lead 5-2. She failed to serve out the set, however, and Kvitova was able to return one of the breaks in a long game which saw Kirilenko lose a set point.At 5-3, the life came back into Kvitova's game. At the same time, Kirilenko's energy level dropped, and the momentum slipped away from her. She would not win another game, losing five in a row for Kvitova to prevail, 7-6(9), 7-5.
Kirilenko explained the letdown by noting Kvitova's renewed energy after breaking for 5-3, and Kvitova's change of tactic -- the Czech reducing power and instead extending rallies to force an error from Kirilenko. She also noted she was surprised to have lost the first set tiebreak, saying, "I didn't lose a tiebreak the last four to five months." In fact, the only other tiebreak Kirilenko had lost in 2012 was to Peng Shuai at Wimbledon (she went on to win that match).
Kvitova's long post-win hug with coach David Kotyza showed how happy she is to be a strong contender in the game after a somewhat lackluster start of the season.
Saturday's We'll Sleep When We're Dead
Petra Kvitova will start her US Open campaign on Monday. Kvitova, who won two of the three of the Emirates Airline US Open Series tournaments she entered, as well as the entire series, stands to gain a sizeable bonus of $1 million should she also win the major. However, she will need to reenergize quickly to withstand another two weeks of play.
The World No. 5 hopes to carry the momentum in her win in Montreal and continuing through New Haven Open, in lieu of fully recuperating. When asked whether Kvitova is mentally ready to compete for the US Open title in two days, Kvitova said, "I'm playing on Monday, and I can't change it. So I have to go there and play my best tennis."
Today's opponent Kirilenko will have two days off as she is in the half of the US Open draw that is scheduled to play Tuesday. Kirilenko is also better used to playing in the week before the US Open. This was her eighth appearance in New Haven to Kvitova's second.
Kirilenko, who has chances to enter the Top 10 with a good run at the US Open, plays South Africa's Chanelle Scheepers in the first round. Kvitova faces Slovenia's Polona Hercog.
Saturday's Always on the Job
Maria Kirilenko had plenty of fan support in today's Final, but the loudest claps came from her famous boyfriend, hockey star Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin, who was announced to spectators as a special guest, when not supporting his girlfriend, spent much of his time at the match signing autographs and posing with fans. Ovechkin did not turn anyone away even as his girlfriend was losing and he looked dejected.
It could have been sweet revenge for Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond, in their Championship win over Czech Republic's Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka... had they known it was happening.
When asked if they were happy to avenge the Olympics Semifinals loss suffered against the Czechs, Huber noted she did not realize it was a rematch. Huber explained, that the way the top seeds play and react to their matches depends on their form and not their opponents'; therefore, while she remembers facing the Czechs, she did not think back to the recent match during Saturday's Final.
Just like the Singles Final, the doubles match was guided by momentum swings. The Czech pair took the first set, 6-4, and then the momentum shifted and Huber/Raymond dominated the second set, winning it 6-0. Things became competitive again in the Championship tiebreak, but the Americans won it, 10-4, with experience and superior net instincts.
Just like Kvitova, who received a Wild Card into the singles draw, Huber and Raymond were not planning to play New Haven. However, because they did not play well last week in Cincinnati, the pair entered New Haven Open at the last moment to gain positive momentum for the US Open.
Saturday's win brought Lisa Raymond her 79th title. When it was pointed out she is three titles ahead of Roger Federer, Raymond was excited. "Best stat I've heard," she said.
While unaware of this detail, Raymond was in tune with other tennis news, informing Huber of the doubles line-up at the US Open. "I don't watch TV, I don't have Twitter. She tells me everything," said Huber. "I read everything. I watch everything," interjected Raymond.
Saturday's Dietary Differences
Want to know Lisa Raymond's secrets to healthy nutrition during a Grand Slam? Well, it's with cupcakes and pizza. Raymond said she is looking forward to returning to two of her favorite spots in New York, Joe's Pizza and Molly's Cupcakes.
Liezel Huber is not as excited about New York's casual dining options. She prefers to eat at home. Suffering from celiac disease, Huber says she's "apain" at restaurants when she orders food due to her diet. She is excited about the prospect of cooking at home, however, and has "even bought little containers" to bring food with her to the tournament. She's also having groceries delivered between 6:30 and 8 am on Sunday.
Saturday's Huber's Drug Problem
Huber had suffered ruptured cysts at the Olympics and continues to suffer due to another cyst having developed. She is on codeine to fight the pain and discomfort and has so far avoided need of surgery. "I think your body is telling you it's time to have children," Huber said, "and that time will come."
Saturday's Overheard in the Stands
Looking at Kvitova's feet, in amazement: "Look at her shoes! They're so... clean!"