Kvitova captures first Miami title, denies Rybakina the Sunshine Double

Petra Kvitova won the Miami Open on Saturday, defeating Indian Wells champion Elena Rybakina in the final.

Petra Kvitova, with 2023 Miami trophy Petra Kvitova, with 2023 Miami trophy | © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

At 33 years old, Petra Kvitova is a champion at the Miami Open for the first time.

Playing for the 13th time in Miami and making her debut appearance in the final, Kvitova upset Elena Rybakina 7-6(14), 6-2 on Sunday afternoon. The left-hander struck five aces without double-faulting a single time while triumphing after one hour and 42 minutes.

Kvitova will be back in the Topo 10 as soon as Monday, for the first time since September 2021.

That’s two win in a row for the Czech against Rybakina as she won their previous matchup, 6-3, 7-5 at Adelaide 2 in January this year (head to head : 2-1).

It’s another feather in the cap that is Kvitova’s illustrious tennis career, which also includes two Wimbledon titles. Miami marks her 30th title overall.

Speaking of Wimbledon titles, Rybakina lifted the trophy at the All-England Club in 2022. Dating back to last summer, the Kazakh has been one of the best players on tour. Having taken the Indian Wells title two weeks ago, she was trying to complete the Sunshine Double in Miami.

Kvitova, however, had other ideas.

First-set tiebreaker proves to be decisive for Kvitova

The first-set tiebreaker was every bit as crucial as it was long. It lasted almost 18 minutes and required 30 points to be completed. There were a total of 10 set points — five for each player. Rybakina missed chances at 7-6, 9-8, 11-10, 12-11 and 13-12 before Kvitova eventually capitalized on her fifth opportunity at 15-14.

“The tiebreaker really decided the whole match in the end,” the 15th seed commented during her post-match interview with the Tennis Channel. “The tiebreaker was… oh my god… the longest in my career. Because I won the tiebreaker, I was emotionally on the better side than Elena. It was something incredible; something amazing.”

To be honest I have no idea how I did it. In the end I was pretty calm today.

Petra Kvitova

With momentum on her side, Kvitova raced through the second set in much more routine fashion. She broke Rybakina in the second game and then saved one break point to reach 3-0. The world No 12 missed a chance to go up 4-0, but she secured the double-break in the final game of the match to clinch victory in style.

“I have no idea,” Kvitova said when asked how she did it. “I’m still surprised. To be honest I have no idea how I did it. In the end I was pretty calm today. I was calming down myself. I’m glad I made it in the end.”

Kvitova is the first Czech player to win the women’s singles at the Miami Open, with Karolina Pliskova losing to Ashleigh Barty in 2019.

Kvitova isn’t the only one who is surprised. Oddsmakers had her at 100 to 1 to win the title before the tournament started. Two weeks later, she is the last woman standing.

Petra Kvitova, Miami 2023
Petra Kvitova, Miami 2023 | © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

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