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By Matt Smith
DUBAI, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova claimed her 10th singles title after defeating Sara Errani 6-2 1-6 6-1 in the final of the Dubai Championships on Saturday.
The Czech, who did not drop a set in the opening four rounds of the tournament, was the favourite after winning her previous three meetings with the Italian and the 22-year-old sought to assert her dominance from the start.
"It was very tough, up and down - she can catch a lot of balls and get them back... I tried to stay focused and calm in the last set," Kvitova said in a courtside interview.
Kvitova broke twice to race into a 3-0 lead in under 10 minutes as Errani struggled to handle the world number eight's fearsome forehand.
The Czech, who cruised past 2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in earlier rounds, suffered a wobble as two double faults helped Errani to narrow the deficit to 4-2, but the left-hander broke again to seal the set.
After such a stroll, it was easy to forget that Errani was actually the higher-ranked player and few among the crowd would have expected anything but a similar procession for Kvitova in the second set.
The indefatigable Errani had other ideas, however, and with the crowds firmly supporting her, the claycourt specialist switched to a serve and volley approach.
That enabled her to break three times and she also held her own serve with increasing ease to square the match as more errors crept into Kvitova's game.
The momentum was with Errani and she went 0-40 up with the Czech serving at 1-1 in the deciding set, but the latter escaped with a series of blistering serves.
That proved to be the pivotal moment, Kvitova breaking at the next opportunity and then holding for a 4-1 lead before sealing the title with an unreturnable serve. (Reporting by Matt Smith, editing by Pritha Sarkar)