Kvitova makes Wimbledon final after silencing Azarenka
Eighth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova showed the greater will, ambition and control of her nerves to overcome Victoria Azarenka 6-1 3-6 6-2 in a topsy-turvy encounter at Wimbledon on Thursday as she reached her first grand slam final.
The Czech, a beaten semi-finalist last year, dominated the first set but then lost her way as the Belarussian fourth seed took the second in her first grand slam semi-final appearance after four previous last-eight defeats.
Kvitova, however, continued to go for her shots and came back strongly to take the third and become the first left hander to make the Wimbledon women's final since Martina Navratilova, present at Thursday's match, in 1994.
"I can't say anything, I'm so happy," said Kvitova, who will face Maria Sharapova in Saturday's final after the 2004 champion beat German wild card Sabine Lisicki in straight sets.
Kvitova -- who beat Azarenka last year during her unexpected run to the semis when she was ranked 62nd -- was far more aggressive throughout the first set, going for the lines and taking risks while Azarenka was content to wait for errors.
It proved a successful tactic for the Czech, who took control and finished it off in style with three successive aces, chalking up the first set after only 27 minutes of action.
In the second set Azarenka finally began to display the form that has brought her so much success this year and lifted her to fourth in the world rankings, while Kvitova's radar suddenly went awry and her game became littered with mistakes.
It was a tense encounter with the crowd struggling to lift themselves but they had a moment of light relief when Azarenka, assailing their eardrums with her trademark screech, complained to the umpire about noise from a nearby errant alarm.
Oblivious to the irony, she got over the distraction and, having broken for a 2-0 lead, cashed in on Kvitova's ragged shots to level the contest between the two 21-year-olds.
Kvitova, bidding to be the first Czech in the final since Jana Novotna in 1998, got herself together again for the third set and took advantage of some poor Azarenka serving to break for a 2-0 lead.
The Belarussian's big chance to hit back came when she was 3-1 down and her opponent was 15-40 on serve but Kvitova, who served solidly through the final set, saved the break points and won the game.
Kvitova missed her first match point when a return, not for the first time, floated long but she won it on her second courtesy of an Azarenka double fault.
"I started really well, all match it was about serve so I was happy mine went well in the third set," Kvitova told a news conference.
"In the beginning it was close but after I broke her, I played well and she was a little bit down I think.
"She played very well in the second set and it was tough after that but I tried to play it as if it was a normal game and not the Wimbledon semi-final."
Azarenka had few complaints about the result and said she felt Kvitova had a chance of another upset in the final.
"I probably could have played better but when I had chances, she really came up with the good stuff," she said.
"I think she can beat anybody any day, because right now she has a really good game. She's really going for it. If she's going to play like this, like she played today, I'm sure she has all the chances to win the next match."