LONDON: Petra Kvitova knows she has to improve or she can forget winning a second Dubai title.
That was the frank assessment the world No. 4 gave herself after she finally saw off the challenge of Jennifer Brady 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 at the Aviation Club. Kvitova arrived in Dubai as on the back of making the Australian Open final last month and as one of the favorites. But having been taken to three sets in her past two matches the Czech is looking far from potential champion material and that is something she readily admitted.
“(It’s) definitely a relief right now,: the two-time Wimbledon champion said.
“But I think in couple of minutes or hours, it will be really exhausting.
“I tried to be quicker today than yesterday (against Katerina Siniakova). “I did little bit better, but still was pretty tough.
“The wind was just terrible today, to be honest. It was really difficult to kind of find a way with it. I couldn’t really serve well today at all.
“It’s been big struggle for me.”
After her win over her compatriot Siniakova, Kvitova admitted all was not well with her game. But it was more in the sense of early tournament creases needing to be ironed out, rather than any worrying trends that might deal a forehand smash to her title chances. Having won the first set 7-5 against Brady the Czech lost her rhythm and suffered a 6-1 turnaround in the second.
She admitted she was unable to recover from a poor first game.
“That was probably the worst game which I played, I think the first game,” the 28-year-old said.
“From the time, I don’t know, probably mentally I just dropped and I can’t really handle it, my serve afterwards. I lost that game. From that time, it was like really quick.
“I’m happy that I started better in the third, which I started with my serve. Obviously it was better, but still I was down 40-15. I turned it around, I don’t know how, but I did. It was really important.”
Those hardly sound like words of someone confident they will be lifting the trophy on Saturday evening. Having spent over five hours on court in her two matches so far Kvitova was quick to dismiss the idea that she has an advantage heading into the later stages, there being no danger she starts her quarterfinal against Viktoria Kuzmova undercooked.
“I don’t think (two long matches will help),” Kvitova said.
“(But) I didn’t really have many days of practice (before the first round), to be honest. I
“I wasn’t really that prepared for this tournament.”