Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
COME BACK FOR LIVE SCORES & LIVE BLOG FROM 26 JUNE
It’s often said that Serena Williams is her own toughest opponent, such is the extent to which the matches she plays belong on her racket.
And this week, it was once again apparent that the same sentiment very much applies to Petra Kvitova - although the Czech has certainly been beating herself for the majority of 2016.
Coming into Wuhan, Kvitova had failed to win a single title, and had departed Wimbledon - her favourite tournament - in the second round. A bronze medal in Rio offered some redemption in an otherwise forgettable season, but on the banks of the Yangtze river the world No.11 served a reminder of the peaks she can scale.
After downing world No.1 Angelique Kerber in a match of the year contender that lasted three hours and 19 minutes - and featured a spellbinding, 41-shot rally - Kvitova then proceeded to stomp through the rest of the field, blasting Johanna Konta, Simona Halep and then Dominika Cibulkova off the court with score lines of 6-3, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2, and 6-1, 6-1 respectively.
After suffering her first career loss to the Czech, Halep attested to the sense of powerlessness that an in-form Kvitova can force upon her opponents.
“She played really well today. She hit the ball very strong and with power. She didn’t miss. It was tough to do something else,” she said.
“I didn’t have the idea to what I have to change. But she did really well, amazing. It was tough to do something.”
Konta concurs. “Sometimes you’re just going along for the ride,” joked the British No.1 after being asked about facing Kvitova when she’s operating at the peak of her powers.
Having only recorded two top-ten victories this year prior to Wuhan, Kvitova equalled that tally within the space of 24 hours, ultimately producing a week-long display of power tennis that made a mockery of the No.16 ranking that she came in with.
Verdict: A long awaited title for Kvitova, won with one of the most commanding performances seen in a tournament this year.
Given the performance level, it seems unfathomable that she should now find herself outside the top 10. With the prospect of returning to that elite group firmly in her sights, she looks well positioned to dominate the final throes of the season.
Elsewhere around the tours...
- Tomas Berdych beat Richard Gasquet in three sets to record his first title of the season in Shenzen. The victory moves him to within 330 points of eighth-placed Rafael Nadal in the Emirates ATP Race to London, with the pressure on the Spaniard to retain his spot.
- Karen Khachanov became the latest ATP #NextGen star to record a title win, sealing his maiden triumph by defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the Shengdu final.
- Kristyna Pliskova - sister of US Open finalist Karolina - won her first WTA title in Tashkent, hinting that new a sister-act could be in the offing on Tour.