Kvitova records first win in Singapore

Number four seed Petra Kvitova recorded her first victory at the WTA Finals when she beat Czech compatriot Lucie Safarova 7-5, 7-5 in a brutal contest at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Wednesday.

Safarova has now lost both of her opening matches and her chances of advancing to the final four have diminished.

The prospect of two left-handed players from the Czech Republic locking horns at the WTA Tour's showpiece event was always going to be exciting. However, the fact there was a considerable amount at stake ahead of the fixture, merely added to the drama.

The first set of the match was an exceptional advert for the women's game, in every respect. 

There were just three break points on offer throughout. Two of those were presented in the 11th game of the match, on the Safarova serve.

Safarova, having raced to a 40:15 lead, found herself severely under the cosh later in that game and while she managed to save the first break point, the pressure was ultimately too much when she had to save another.

It is also perhaps worth noting that there were four love holds during that first set, a testament to how well both players performed when the ball was on their racket, so to speak.

The second set was not quite as glamorous for either player but it was just as thrilling. The level of serving dropped but the intensity with which the ground stroke rallies were contest more than made up for that.

The three most critical games were contested midway through the second set and that is ultimately where the match was lost for Safarova. While leading at 3-2, Safarova found herself trailing throughout the sixth game. 

Kvitova pounced on the opportunity to break, which meant the onus was again on Safarova to seize the initiative. She had an opportunity to strike back the very next game but didn't have the composure to finish off the job.

In the eighth game of the second set, Safarova encountered two break points, which would have sealed the result and she handled both of them with considerable aplomb, keeping the contest alive.

She was not quite as clinical when serving to stay in the match, at 5-6, though.