Kvitova, Li square off in Montreal final

Li Na of China hits a return during her semi-final match against Lucie Safarova of the Czech...

Li Na of China hits a return during her semi-final match against Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Montreal, August 12, 2012. (Christinne Muschi/REUTERS)

BRIAN DALY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:19 PM ET

MONTREAL - Two top-11 players seeking their first WTA title of the season will square off Monday evening in the final of the rain-soaked $2.168-million Rogers Cup.

Fifth seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic defeated 2010 Rogers Cup champion Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, breaking through to a final for the first time this season after making four WTA semis.

The 22-year old world no. 6 will face 11th-ranked Li Na of China, who earned her first berth in a Rogers Cup final with a furious third-set comeback to beat Lucie Safarova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Kvitova had to rally back against Wozniacki, who dominated the first set by breaking her Czech opponent three times to build an insurmountable 5-1 lead on her way to taking the set.

Kvitova bore down in the second, whizzing winners past the Danish native, who appeared to tire after playing her third match in two days because of rain delays.

Kvitova quickly built a 5-1 lead in the second and finished Wozniacki off 6-2 just before a steady downpour suspended play for an hour.

When the third set resumed, Kvitova continued her strong play, breaking her opponent immediately and shutting her out in the second game to go up 2-0.

A second break in the fifth game made it 4-1 for Kvitova. Wozniacki refused to roll over despite a wrap on her knee, breaking Kvitova in the eighth game before bowing out 6-3.

Kvitova said she was satisfied with her performance, especially since she was battling asthma and prefers playing on grass rather than the hard courts at Uniprix Stadium. She predicted the final against Li would be a tough battle given the Chinese star's speed and deep ball placement.

"We played each other I think three times already and I'm losing," said Kvitova, who is 1-2 lifetime against Li.

"So I have to win (Monday) to have a 2-2 and have a revenge."

In the earlier semifinal, Li appeared to be headed for defeat against Safarova, the world’s 23rd-ranked player.

Safarova broke Li in the fourth and sixth games to go up 5-1 but the 25-year-old appeared to relax, causing unforced errors to pile up and allowing Li to win five consecutive games by establishing a strong serve and ground game built on hard and deep balls.

Li broke Safarova in the seventh and ninth games to make it 5-4, leaving her Czech opponent visibly frustrated.

Li easily won the tenth game, capitalizing on two Safarova forehands that sailed out of bounds.

A well placed Li forehand to the far side of the court left Safarova flailing away and the turnaround from 5-1 down to 6-5 up left the Czech, and the crowd, shocked.

Safarova scored just two points in the decisive 12th game, and Li pumped her fist and let out a shout when a Safarova return sailed long to end the match. Afterward, Li said she never thought she was out of it.

“I just talk(ed) to myself just like point by point,” said Li, who has now won six consecutive games against Safarova.

“I really didn't change anything. In a short time, I can't change, of course. So I just put ball (to) back (of) the court.”

Safarova admits she was nervous about closing the match while up 5-1, and that her conservative play allowed Li back into the match.

“Against a top 10 player, I should have gone for my ... hardest and try to go for winners, not wait for her mistakes,” said Safarova, who should still move into the top 20 by virtue of her semifinal appearance.

“She was still hanging there and she was not giving up. Until the last point is finished, it still can change.”

In the Sunday evening doubles final, Klaudia Jans-Ignacik of Poland and France’s Kristina Mladenovic won the title 7-5, 2-6, 10-7.

They defeated the duo of Russian Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovakia.

Petra Kvitova (no. 6) vs. Li Na (no. 11)

Career head-to-head: Li leads Kvitova 2-1

Apia International, Sydney Australia, Jan. 12, 2012: Li def. Kvitova in SF 1-6, 7-5, 6-2

French Open, May 30, 2011: Li def. Kvitova in 3r 2-6, 6-1, 6-3

Madrid Open, May 7, 2011: Kvitova def. Li in SF 6-3, 6-1

Kvitova’s Road to the Final

Def. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) in SF 3-6, 6-2, 6-3

Def. Tamira Paszek (AUT) in QF 6-3, 6-2

Def. Marion Bartoli (FRA) in 3r 6-1, 6-1

Def. Ksenia Pervak (KAZ) in 2r 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-0

Li’s Road to the Final

Def. Lucie Safarova (CZE) in SF 3-6, 6-3, 7-5

Def. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) in QF 6-2, 6-1

Def. Sara Errani (ITA) in 3r 6-4, 6-2

Def. Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) in 2r 6-4, 6-4


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