Kvitova, Vrbensky Lift Czech TA President’s Cup Trophies

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Top seed Petra Kvitova didn’t drop a set the entire week during the Czech TA President’s Cup event at the Prague Sparta. As it turned out, she spent more time – nearly two hours – sitting out a rain delay Thursday afternoon than she did on court in beating fellow Czech Karolina Muchova, 6-3, 6-3, in one hour and 17 minutes to claim the title of the all-Czech exhibition tournament.

“Victories always count. … It was a home tournament, I’m never indifferent to it,” the 30-year-old Kvitova said, quoted by isport.cz. “It was nice to play, to see smiling people. Maybe I also gave them some reasons to smile.”

Meanwhile, the men’s title surprisingly was won by 405th-ranked Michael Vrbensky, who defeated No. 229 Zdenek Kolar, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 10-8, played on clay. It prompted the 20-year-old titlist to joke afterward, “More people came here than in the tournaments I play.”

The three-day tournament was the first event held in the Czech Republic following the shutdown of the ATP, WTA and ITF tours due to the global coronavirus pandemic. It was played with very few social distanced spectators in attendance, but with linesmen and gloved ball kids. Each participant received a sum of 50,000 crowns, from which they could contribute to a charity of their own discretion.

The Kvitova-Muchova match, which was contested on a hard court surface, was interrupted by rain in the second set with Kvitova up a set and ahead 4-1 in the decider. However, it merely delayed the eventual outcome, which favored the World No. 12 Kvitova. She outpointed Muchova 70-55.

Kvitova started slowly and trailed early in the opening set 3-1. Then, she strung together five straight winning games, including three breaks of Muchova’s serve, and won 6-3. Next, the two-time Wimbledon champion won the first three games of the second set and coasted to the finish line from there. Once Kvitova broke Muchova in the eighth game to go ahead 5-3, she served out the victory on her second match-point opportunity. Kvitova converted five of 14 break-point opportunities.

Over the past eight years, Kvitova is 40-2 against Czech opponents. “I really don’t know what it is. I guess I just have extra motivation in these matches,” she said. Kvitova overcame a sore forearm, while Muchova appeared to finish the match favoring her right ankle.

“I played better every day, that’s positive,” said Kvitova in an interview for CT Sport. “Today was my best performance that I gave here at the tournament.”