Petra Kvitova plays spoiler in Miami Open triumph over Elena Rybakina
Petra Kvitova snapped the 13-match winning streak of Elena Rybakina to win her 30th career title and take the Miami Open title.
Kvitova was in top form to neutralise the power of Rybakina and held off the Indian Wells champion to win 7-6(14), 6-2.
The Czech became the first player to take a tiebreak off Rybakina this season, to set herself up for the big win.
Kvitova also became the oldest Miami champion since Serena Williams lifted the trophy in 2015.
The title run will see Kvitova surge back into the top ten of the rankings for the first time since September 2021.
Kvitova won her ninth WTA 1000 championship in her 13th main draw participation in Miami and 99th at a WTA 1000 competition, extending her remarkable record in WTA Tour finals to 30-11. Her triumph over world No 7 Rybakina was Kvitovas’ 60th Top 10 victory, she now trails only Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka among active players.
The first set tiebreaker proved to be crucial, with Kvitova managing to hang on before finally taking the opening set after a 16-14 battle.
That opening set went with serve for eight consecutive holds before Kvitova secured the first break of the match.
Title number 30 🏆😳
Thank you for staying on this crazy ride with me.
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) April 1, 2023
However, Rybakina was able to break back immediately and it seemed that the momentum had shifted.
Kvitova just wouldn’t let the tiebreak go, perhaps sensing that it might decide the contest.
Kvitova was the more clinical player in the opening frame, serving at 79 percent and hitting 17 winners to her 11 unforced errors.
Rybakina meanwhile finished the first set with 16 winners, including 10 aces, but misfired with 18 unforced errors.
Kvitova raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second set and never looked back. Rybakina played admirably to keep the gap to one break, saving a break point and preventing a 4-0 deficit. Kvitova needed just one break on a day when she won more than 75% of her serve points and faced only two break points. With her fifth ace of the match, she finished out a game for a 5-2 lead and then broke Rybakina in the last game to sela the win after 1 hour and 42 minutes.
Kvitova secured 78 percent of her service points (52 of 67), with 29 winners and 14 unforced errors to her name. In each set, she only had one break point and was broken once. She also limited Rybakina to just ten winners off the ground.
Rybakina belted 12 aces in the game and in so doing she became the first player since Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2016 to strike 10 or more aces in six straight matches.
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