Kvitova outlasts Barty to set up Sabalenka showpiece

Omnisport

Petra Kvitova came through a see-saw battle with Ashleigh Barty to progress to the final of the Qatar Open, where she will face Aryna Sabalenka.

World number one Barty had survived a three-set clash with Garbine Muguruza to reach the last four in Doha, but two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova proved too strong on Friday.

Barty appeared to have the momentum after levelling the match by taking the second set in comfortable fashion.

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However, an engrossing third went the way of Kvitova, even if was far from straightforward.

A sliced Barty backhand into the net gave Kvitova a break in the fifth game of the decider, only for the Czech to surrender it straight back when she fired wide off the same wing.

Yet a blistering crosscourt backhand return earned Kvitova the advantage again and a place in the final was secured when Barty looped a forehand wide to seal a 6-4 2-6 6-4 win for the 2018 champion.

Sabalenka's victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova was more routine.

The 21-year-old is making her debut at the tournament, but youth triumphed over experience in comfortable fashion as she needed only an hour and 17 minutes to prevail 6-4 6-3.

It is now 10 career WTA singles finals for Sabalenka, who has lost two of her three meetings with Kvitova, her solitary win coming at the 2018 US Open.

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