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Andrea Petkovic battles to victory against Flavia Pennetta at the final Garanti Koza Tournament of Champions

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 2 Nov 2014
Andrea Petkovic with the Garanti Koza WTA Tournament of Champions trophy (NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)

The last WTA Tour title of the 2014 season was claimed by Andrea Petkovic as she defeated Flavia Pennetta 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the Garanti Koza Tournament of Champions.

The final was not just an entertaining battle, it was a microcosm of Petkovic’s week and, indeed, her career as the German staged a gritty comeback after a disappointing start.

It hardly looked likely that Petkovic would even make the elimination stages after she lost 0-6, 4-6 to Carla Suarez Navarro in her opening round-robin match. But victories over Dominika Cibulkova and Tsvetana Pironkova put her into the semifinals, where she surprised everyone by handing Garbine Muguruza her first defeat of the week to reach the final.

Once there, it looked like all the tennis Petkovic has played this week – and this season – had caught up with her as Pennetta raced to a 4-0 lead with some ferociously good tennis, while Petkovic struggled to get the ball in the court and looked frustrated and exhausted as she gave up the set 1-6 with another unforced error off the backhand wing.

But it was a different Petkovic who started the second set, breaking immediately as for the first time she successfully read Pennetta’s play, anticipating the Italian’s dropshot to bring her in and blanketing the net. Despite some mammoth battles on serve, Petkovic held the advantage and climbed out of a 0-30 hole to get to 5-3 before serving out the second set. 

After pressing hard on Pennetta’s serve at the beginning of the third set, Petkovic was broken to fall behind 0-2 but broke back immediately and gutted out a good hold for 2-2. Pennetta looked to have lost a step and was certainly struggling when pulled out to her backhand side, something that hadn’t been the case in the first set, while Petkovic was relentless in attack. 

At 3-3, dogged defense from Petkovic saw Pennetta have to hit one more ball than was comfortable and the Italian made a poor volley error to give up break point, before Petkovic landed a clean forehand down the line return winner to hit the front. This time, there was to be no resurgence from Pennetta, who double-faulted to give up the match two games later.   

‘I love watching Flavia play, but I hate playing her because she's so difficult to play!’ Petkovic said. ‘I'm happy I could gather enough energy and play well enough to win it in the end.’

It’s Petkovic’s third WTA Tour title of the year after winning in Charleston and Bad Gastein and will see the German ranked inside the top 15 shortly. 

The achievement is even more special because this is the last year the Garanti Koza Tournament of Champions will be played – it will be replaced by the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, China, from 2015.

‘I'm happy I met Flavia in the final because we've both been coming back from injury this year,’ Petkovic said. ‘I was so happy when she won Indian Wells because I know what she went through, and so it's even nicer to play her for this title today. I hope the next season is even better for her.’

Petkovic’s season isn’t quite done yet – the athletic world no. 17 will be a core part of Germany’s Fed Cup team which will contest the final against the Czech Republic next weekend.

‘I wish I could end this great season at this great tournament,’ she said. ‘But I will try to cherish this moment as much as I can first.’

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Andrea Petkovic battles to victory against Flavia Pennetta at the final Garanti Koza Tournament of Champions

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