Barbora Krejcikova rallied from a set down to upset World No.1 and top seed Iga Swiatek 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3 in a thrilling championship at the Agel Open.
Krejcikova handed Swiatek only her second career defeat in 12 tour-level singles finals, and first in three years. She had to do it the hard way. Krejcikova trailed 5-1 in the opening set, and though she couldn't turn the set all the way around, eventually won the match in a staggering 3 hours and 16 minutes.
Words from the winner: "It was a big match, I think, for both sides," Krejcikova said after the match. "We played amazingly. We gave an amazing show to the fans, so I'm really happy with that and with the way I have performed. It's always great to be a winner in your home country.
"It's a huge victory ... It's one of the one of the biggest match that I ever played. The atmosphere was just very energetic and very unbelievable for both sides. It's really one of the top matches that I think I ever played in my life."
Turning point: After losing an opening set that neared 80 minutes, Krejcikova led for much of the second set after she broke Swiatek's serve for a third time in the first game. However, the World No.1 got the break back for 4-4, and was twice a game away from victory prior to the tiebreak.
Swiatek was also two points from an eighth title of the season with Krejcikova serving at 30-30 in the 12th game. Coming through that hold, though, was the springboard the Czech needed to force a third. She won the first four points of the tiebreak, and six of the first seven -- giving her more than enough cushion when Swiatek erased her first three set points.
Neither woman faced break point over the first seven games of the final set, and Krejcikova struck first with a love break to serve for the match. Having lost just two points on serve before then, the 2021 Roland Garros champion was forced to find her best form to seal her fifth career Hologic WTA Tour title.
Swiatek played inspired tennis to save five championship points, but a seventh ace handed the Czech the championship.
Facing Swiatek's last stand, Krejcikova stayed calm.
"I was just telling myself to keep going," she said. "She's a great champion. She's a great player, so I was expecting that she's not going to give it to me easy. So I was just like, 'OK, keep going. It's going to be fine. You're going to you're going to get your chance. You're going to make it,' so that was my inner voice."
Doing what nobody has been able to do for a long, long time 👏— wta (@WTA) October 9, 2022
🇨🇿 @BKrejcikova defeats Swiatek in a final after 3h16m to clinch her fifth career WTA singles title!!!#OstravaOpen pic.twitter.com/ljCYStnI25
Marathon woman: The match equals Angelique Kerber's triumph over Kaja Juvan in Strasbourg, France in May as the longest championship match of 2022 so far.
It's also Krejcikova's second three-plus hour victory in as many weeks. She won a 3-hour, 23-minute semifinal match against Belinda Bencic last week en route to the title in Tallinn, and the resurgent Czech has now won nine straight matches.
"I had a really tough two weeks, but two very nice trophies at the end," Krejcikova said. "My game is improving and I'm really happy with that. I'm working very hard every day to get better every single time. I'm just very happy that things are clicking together and improving and and I can play the biggest matches with the biggest players."
Caty McNally, Alycia Parks win first team doubles title
They had excellent singles efforts in Ostrava, and Americans Caty McNally and Alycia Parks will also be leaving the Czech Republic with the doubles champions' hardware. The duo were 6-3, 6-2 winners over No. 3 seeds Erin Routliffe and Alicja Rosolska in Sunday's final for their first doubles title as a pair.
An on-site doubles pair that were one of the last teams accepted into the field, the unseeded Americans beat three seeded teams in four matches: In the quarterfinals, they upset No. 1 seeds Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs, and came from a set down in their semifinal win over No. 4 seeds Kirsten Flipkens and Laura Siegemund.
"I was heading for heading out to practice maybe one of the first days we were here and Alycia waved at me, but I didn't think she was ... so I just kept walking," McNally recalled after the match. "She ran after me, and she's like, 'You wanna play doubles?' I was like, 'You know, it kind of depends on how I do in singles, but yeah, we can sign up together. Let's see. Let's see if we get in.'
"We end up getting in. We both had really great weeks in singles and it's been a great week in doubles winning the title. For the first time playing together, I think we gelled pretty well."
It's Parks' first WTA title of any kind and McNally's sixth in doubles; this year, she's reached four finals with three different partners, and also won St. Petersburg with Anna Kalinskaya in February.
In singles, both Americans qualified for the WTA 500 event and reached the quarterfinals.