China Open, Beijing
Women’s Final: [CR3] Petra Kvitova (CZE) vs. [CR4] Maria Sharapova (RUS)
In a battle between two players that hit the ball with pace, victory would go to the player who controlled their nerves on serve and was the better mover. Despite going down an early break in the first set, Sharapova was the one in control. She would eventually break back and take the set because Kvitova struggled on every service game. Kvitova’s game is built on pace and placement of her shots, when she gets into a rally her probability of winning the point goes down significantly because she does not move well. Although Kvitova had chances, nerves saw her massaging the ball rather than hitting it, and Sharapova was able to dictate play in the first set.
The second set was dominated by nerves on both sides and there would be multiple service breaks; ultimately, Kvitova would win that set. The nerves that were apparent in all of Kvitova’s service games were finally her undoing. Her service struggles persisted in the third set and she got broken, despite breaking back she had no confidence in her serve and she would immediately be broken.
If your game is built around your serve, when you lose confidence in it, the rest of your game falls apart. Nerves got the better of Kvitova, her shots went astray and her limited mobility was further compromised. In the end, despite being equally affected by nerves, Sharapova willed herself to the victory, winning 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.