Wozniacki battles through knee complaint to down Kvitova

Caroline Wozniacki celebrates against Petra Kvitova

Despite struggling with a knee injury, Caroline Wozniacki boosted her chances of reaching the WTA Finals last four by beating Petra Kvitova.

Caroline Wozniacki battled through a troublesome knee complaint to earn a crucial three-set victory over Petra Kvitova in the White Group of the WTA Finals.

Defending champion Wozniacki and Kvitova lost their opening matches of the round-robin phase to crank up the importance of Tuesday’s contest in Singapore.

It was Wozniacki who struck first in a tense opening set, but a problem with her left knee limited the Dane’s movement and allowed Kvitova to level the match.

The see-saw nature of the match went back in Wozniacki’s favour, though, and the second seed completed a 7-5 3-6 6-2 victory to end a four-match losing streak over Kvitova dating back to 2014.

Victory reignites Wozniacki’s bid to reach the semi-finals, while Kvitova – who mixed 40 winners with as many unforced errors – will be eliminated should compatriot Karolina Pliskova beat Elina Svitolina.

It took until game eight for the first break of the match when Wozniacki followed up a fierce backhand with a thumping forehand winner.

The Dane failed to serve out the opener, wasting a set point in the process, as Kvitova hit back immediately and then earned another break-point chance in game 11.

That danger was quelled and, with Kvitova serving to stay in the set, Wozniacki saw another set point go missing before the third time proved a charm when the Czech put a forehand into the net.

After a break apiece to start the second, Kvitova stole in front again in game three when she correctly reviewed a ball called out and Wozniacki needed strapping on her knee during a medical timeout after game four.

A glorious deft lob briefly levelled the set at 3-3, but Kvitova quickly regained the advantage and, with Wozniacki’s movement now clearly hindered, she cantered through the remaining games.

But Wozniacki gained a second wind as the momentum swung once again.

Wozniacki broke at the first time of asking with a double-backhand pass at the end of a majestic rally and, with Kvitova – who is asthmatic – visibly struggling with her breathing at a change of ends, a break of love followed to establish a 4-1 lead.

From there it was a formality for Wozniacki, who can now look ahead to her final group match with Elina Svitolina.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Wozniacki [2] bt Kvitova [4] 7-5 3-6 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Wozniacki – 19/14
Kvitova – 40/40

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Wozniacki – 3/0
Kvitova – 2/3

BREAK POINTS WON

Wozniacki – 6/9
Kvitova – 5/13

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Wozniacki – 70
Kvitova – 59

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Wozniacki – 62/50
Kvitova – 51/55

TOTAL POINTS

Wozniacki – 96
Kvitova – 84

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