World No.9 Petra Kvitova captured her second title of the season on Sunday after defeating No.23 Donna Vekic 6-2, 7-6(6) to win the bett1open in Berlin, Germany. The victory netted the two-time Wimbledon champion her sixth career grass-court title.
Having won the Miami Open earlier this season, Berlin is Kvitova's 31st career title. Only Venus Williams has won more titles among active players, with the 43-year-old American holding 49. This is the first time Kvitova has won multiple titles in a single season since 2019.
Kvitova finished the week without losing a set in Berlin, defeating Karolina Pliskova, Nadia Podoroska, Caroline Garcia, Ekaterina Alexandrova, and Vekic. Her win over No.4 Garcia in the quarterfinals was her first over a Top 10 opponent on grass since the 2011 Wimbledon final.
The 33-year-old Czech has now won 12 of her last 13 matches on grass dating back to her title run in Eastbourne last season. She lost just four sets over that span.
Playing her 42nd final on the Hologic WTA Tour, Kvitova came into Sunday's showdown having won four of her previous five meetings against Vekic. The Croatian had enjoyed a resurgent week in Berlin to advance to her third WTA 500 final. Along the way, she defeated two Top 10 opponents, No.3 Elena Rybakina and No.8 Maria Sakkari.
How the match was won: Kvitova's exemplary record in tournament finals was on display from the start. She improved her career record in tour-level finals to 31-11 with a confident baseline display and clutch serving to keep Vekic at bay. Kvitova lost just eight points behind her serve in the opening set, wiping out the sole break point she faced.
Vekic responded with a surge in the second set. Playing her second final of the season and first on grass since 2019 Nottingham, Vekic began to unwind Kvitova's offense with relentless baseline defense. As she extended the rallies, Vekic shifted the momentum to her side. She built a 3-1 lead by winning 14 of 20 points and served to take the match to a third at 5-4.
Turning point: But Kvitova broke serve to prolong the set and the two headed to a tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Vekic earned the early advantage at 3-1 with a big inside-out forehand winner that earned a wry smile from Kvitova. The Czech responded by winning the next two points to level at 3-3. After a forehand winner earned Kvitova a 5-4 lead, Vekic absorbed the Czech's pace to earn an error to get back to level and then served her seventh ace to earn her first set point.
Kvitova saved set point with a swinging second serve that earned an errant return. A wild forehand from Vekic gave Kvitova her first Championship Point and the Czech finished in style, firing a forehand winner down the line to seal the win after 1 hour and 41 minutes.
33, 110 - At 33 years and 110 days, Petra Kvitova has become the oldest winner of the German Open. Kvitova is only the second player aged 30 or over to reach the final and win the event, after Chris Evert in 1985. Measured.#bett1open | @WTA @WTA_insider @bett1open pic.twitter.com/Jt5nqRGTVJ— OptaAce (@OptaAce) June 25, 2023
Key stat: The serve proved the difference between Kvitova and Vekic. The Croatian tallied more winners than Kvitova - 27 to 25 - and fewer unforced errors - 17 to 21 - but Kvitova's consistent return pressure paid dividends. Vekic won just 29 percent of her second-serve points and was broken three times. Kvitova was broken just once.
Garcia and Stefani take the doubles title: Earlier in the day, Garcia and Luisa Stefani defeated Katerina Siniakova and Marketa Vondrousova 4-6, 7-6(8) [10-7] to win the doubles title. Garcia and Stefani saved three match points in the second-set tiebreak, coming back from 6-5 down to force the final into a match tiebreak.
The title is Garcia's eighth doubles title and first since winning 2022 Roland Garros with Kristina Mladenovic. It is also Stefani's eighth career doubles title and third of the season, having won Abu Dhabi (w/ Zhang Shuai) and Adelaide 2 (w/ Taylor Townsend) in January.