Red hot Kvitova gives Czech Republic edge

Updated: 07 January 2012 17:24 IST

World number two Petra Kvitova continued her imposing start to the year to give the Czech Republic the lead in the Hopman Cup final against France in Western Australia on Saturday.

Perth:

World number two Petra Kvitova continued her imposing start to the year to give the Czech Republic the lead in the Hopman Cup final against France in Western Australia on Saturday.

Unbeaten in her three previous singles matches in Perth, including beating world number one Caroline Wozniacki on Friday, Kvitova was too good for ninth-ranked Marion Bartoli in the women's singles, winning 7-5, 6-1.

"I am happy that I won and we lead 1-0," Kvitova said after the match, the first of three in the tie, which also includes men's singles and mixed doubles.

"I was more aggressive on the return and was tougher on my serve."

Bartoli, 27, was up a break at 5-3 in the opener and served for the set, but last year's Wimbledon champion turned on the quality to reel off the next seven games and seize control.

She hammered a forehand winner from the Bartoli serve to seal the first set after 59 minutes, and the 21-year-old continued in the same blistering form to earn an early break in the second set.

The Frenchwoman who has one of the biggest serves on the women's circuit and has been in fine form in Perth, had no answer to the Czech's booming forehand, and Kvitova broke her three times in succession.

The Czech left-hander served out the match to love, having won 10 of the last 11 games in a commanding performance that again signalled her intention to claim the top ranking off Wozniacki.

The men's singles match between Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet was to follow, and then the mixed doubles if needed.

France, making their second appearance in the final, have never won the Hopman Cup, while Jana Novotna and Petr Korda won it for the Czech Republic once in 1994.

Czechoslovakia also won the inaugural Cup in 1989.

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Topics : Tennis Justin Langer Ricky Ponting Michael Hussey Petra Kvitova
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