Petra Kvitova beats Elena Rybakina in WTA Miami Open 2023 Final, ending hopes of ‘Sunshine Double’ for Rybakina
Petra Kvitova beat Elena Rybakina 7-6(14) 6-2 to claim the Miami Open, her 30th career title.
Victory improves Kvitova’s world ranking to No. 10, and came as something of a surprise after a dominant run by her opponent.
Rybakina had dropped just one set in Miami, and was just two weeks removed from her Indian Wells title win.
When Kvitova blew two early break points and Rybakina flexed her muscles with a trio of early aces, it seemed that the Kazakhstani was justifying her status as the favourite.
After the players each held their service games through the first eight games, Kvitova got the crucial break in the next. The Czech put herself in a position to serve for the set, but Rybakina broke back to force a tie-breaker.
Rybakina earned a mini-break to go 4-2 up in the tie-breaker, but Kvitova was not going away. The Czech star pushed into a 6-5 lead. Rybakina managed five aces in an intense tie-break that just would not end.
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At 10-10, the match time clock passed 60 minutes.
Rybakina had her fourth chance to put the set away at 12-11, on serve. She faulted on the first serve, only adding to the drama. Kvitova caught the second serve and returned it for a winner to once again level the tie-breaker at 12-12.
With Kvitova 14-13 up, Rybakina was running for her life but managed to survive an epic rally and save the set point.
But Rybakina was on borrowed time and Kvitova closed out the tie-breaker at 16-14 to take the first set in 67 minutes.
In the second set, the Kazakhstani’s serve deserted her and she was suddenly in trouble.
Having beaten Aryna Sabalenka to win Indian Wells two weeks ago, Rybakina was on the hunt for the uncommon ‘Sunshine Double’. However, her hopes of becoming the fifth woman to win both Miami and Indian Wells in the same season looked ever more remote.
As the second set rolled on, Kvitova closed her grip.
An early break gave her an important advantage and, while Rybakina managed to hold her next two service games, she was in desperate straits when Kvitova held serve to go 5-2 up in the second, .
The Czech veteran sealed victory with another break in the eighth game of the set.
Kvitova’s victory lifts her to world No. 10, and augurs well for the remainder of the season.
Rybakina broke the record for most aces in a WTA 1000 tournament in Miami, previously held by Madison Keys, with a total of 69 aces but it was not enough to claim the title.