MIAMI -- World No.12 Petra Kvitova snapped Elena Rybakina's 13-match win streak to capture the Miami Open title. Behind a stellar serving performance Saturday, Kvitova held off Rybakina 7-6(14), 6-2 for her 30th career win.
At 33 years old, Kvitova became the oldest Miami champion since Serena Williams in 2015. On Monday, Kvitova 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 won her ninth WTA 1000 title and extended her impressive record in Hologic WTA Tour finals to 30-11. Her win against 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 frame, in which she unsuccessfully served for the set at 5-4 before ultimately saving a total of five set points in a lengthy tiebreak to take it 16-14.
"For sure the tiebreak was deciding today I think all the match," Kvitova said. "I think it was the longest one I ever played in my life, and it was like, yeah, if I didn't serve, I couldn't be there. I mean, I got like three aces at the beginning and it was really tough."
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 this season into the final, but Kvitova had reason to be confident. She 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.
"Before our final I read yesterday that Elena didn't lose a tiebreak yet this season," Kvitova xaid. "So I was a break up. I was like, Okay, good. I gonna serve it out. And boom, it was a tiebreak.
"I was like, Oh, very nice. What are you gonna do now? But I was telling myself that she has to lose at some point one tiebreak in the season."
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 only 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 in 1 hour and 42 minutes.
9 - Petra Kvitova has equalled Simona Halep as the third player with the most WTA-1000 titles (nine), only Serena Williams (13) and Victoria Azarenka (10) have more - since 2009.#MiamiOpen | @WTA @WTA_insider @MiamiOpen pic.twitter.com/zBzdh1nW3r— OptaAce (@OptaAce) April 1, 2023
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 only 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 Wimbledon in 2016 to hit 10 or more aces in six consecutive matches in a single tournament.
Final thoughts from the winner: "I have no idea what this will do in the season," Kvitova said. "I'm just happy that I won it from nothing, I would say. I think I'm playing pretty good tennis starting the year, but, you know, didn't go really deep in the tournament. Finally I have it.
"I think I just take it very positively that I can still compete with the best. The clay is waiting and then it's grass. The tennis world is just very fast, and I can't really stand there and be watching this trophy all the time. I have to move forward, of course, as everybody would. It means a lot for me that even in my age I can still win a big tournament. That's the biggest thing."