Dubai: Defending champion Petra Kvitova believes she has only herself to blame after her shock second round defeat to Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro at the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open late on Wednesday.
Kvitova, who won the 2013 title with a three-set final triumph against Sara Errani, fell early this week despite dominating Suarez Navarro through much of the first half of their encounter at the Dubai Tennis Stadium.
It was a 6-1 romp for the Czech star in the first set but, given a lifeline, her 25-year-old opponent seized the opportunity to win the second set 6-4 and then clinched the decider 7-4 in the tie-break.
“I started really well and I played pretty aggressively too, making a lot of winners that she didn’t have time to hit well as she did after. But, when I was leading in the second set, I lost my serve very badly and I think that from that moment I was a little bit mentally down and I was always trying to come back,” Kvitova said.
“I was close, but still she won the second set and it was tough to come back again in the third. In the tie-break, I just made two easy mistakes and I think that was the thing that she did better.”
Kvitova has been a consistent player in the past couple of years. Last year, she ended the season at No.6 in the world rankings after winning two titles on the WTA Tour. This year, she reached the semi-finals at Sydney before falling in the first round of the Australian Open to Thai sensation Luksika Kumkhum and withdrawing from the Paris Indoors.
Last week, she made a return, reaching the quarter-finals in Doha, where she lost to former world number one Jelena Jankovic.
“I didn’t feel any pressure that I was defending the title,” she added after her defeat to Suarez Navarro. “I really wanted to win. I really love this tournament, it’s great. The surface suits me well, but unfortunately I didn’t do it today [Wednesday].
“I feel that the ball didn’t fly that well. During the day it’s much warmer, so I think the balls are flying a little bit more [then]. But it was the same for both of us.”