Sometimes a match has such a distinct turning point, one can almost place a bet on the outcome after that point has passed. Such was the case today in the eighth game of the second set in the Cincinnati championship match between 5th seed Angelique Kerber and 9th seed Li Na. After winning only one game in the opening set and going down a break in the second, Li fought for around 13 minutes in that eighth game, watching multiple chances to break go by. But break she finally did, and after that, the match was all about the Chinese star.
This was Li at her best, playing a smart game (with new coach Carlos Rodriguez) and not falling into the same fate as Petra Kvitova did. Li slowed herself down and took every advantage of an exhausted Kerber, who appeared to be having some trouble with one of her thighs. Li hit three times as many winners as Kerber, and she served well. Kerber's defensive skills are high, but she faded in the third set, as Li moved her around the court expertly and took almost total control of the match.
This is Li's first title--a big one--of the year, though she played in three other finals. Depending on how Kvitova does in New Haven, Li could win the U.S. Open Series. At any rate, she can now be considered a serious contender at Flushing Meadows.
The doubles title was taken by Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, who defeated Katarina Srebotnik and Zheng Jie 6-1, 6-3. This is the eighth title for the team. Hlavacova and Hradecka won the French Open in 2011, and they were the runners-up this year at Wimbledon.