MIAMI — World No.12 Petra Kvitova captured her 30th career title after ending Indian Wells champion Elena Rybakina’s 13-match win streak in the Miami Open final. Behind a stellar serving performance, Kvitova held off Rybakina to win 7-6(14), 6-2 in Saturday’s final.
At 33 years old, Kvitova became the oldest Miami champion since Serena Williams in 2015. On Monday she will return to the Top 10 for the first time since September of 2021.
In her 13th main draw appearance in Miami and 99th at a WTA 1000 tournament, Kvitova captured her ninth WTA 1000 title and extended her impressive record in Hologic WTA Tour finals to 30-11. Her win over No.7 Rybakina was the 60th Top 10 win of her career, behind only Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka among active players.
Kvitova came through a dramatic 67-minute opening set, which saw her unsuccessfully serve for the set at 5-4 before ultimately saving a total of five set points in a lengthy tiebreak to take it 16-14.
How the match was won: In an intriguing battle between two big-hitting Wimbledon champions, Kvitova and Rybakina opened the match by exchanging eight consecutive holds before Kvitova broke for a 5-4 lead. Rybakina responded by converting her first break point of the set at 5-4, 30-40, powering down a deep return that earned an errant reply.
Rybakina carried a perfect 7-0 record in tiebreaks into the final, but Kvitova had reason to be confident. The Czech was 6-2 in tiebreaks this season and serving well over 70 percent in the first set. Despite five aces from Rybakina, Kvitova saved five set points and converted on her fifth to grab the lead.
Rybakina finished the first set with 16 winners, including 10 aces, but misfired on 18 unforced errors. Kvitova was far tidier, serving at 79 percent for the set and hitting 17 winners to 11 unforced errors.
With the momentum on her side, Kvitova raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second set. Rybakina did well to stay within a break, saving a break point to avoid falling behind 4-0. But on a day when Kvitova won well over 75 percent of her service points and faced just two break points, the one break was all the former No.2 needed. She closed out a love hold with her fifth ace of the match to lead 5-2 and broke Rybakina in the final game to close out the win after 1 hour and 42 minutes.
Stat of the match: Kvitova won 78 percent of her service points (52 of 67) and finished with 29 winners to 14 unforced errors. She faced just one break point in each set and was broken once. She also held Rybakina to just 10 winners off the ground.
Rybakina fired 12 aces in the match. She became the first player since Serena Williams at 2016 Wimbledon to hit 10 or more aces in six consecutive matches in a single tournament.
More to follow…