STUTTGART, Germany -- No.3 seed Petra Kvitova became the first player to win a second WTA singles title in 2019, as the Czech made it through a bruising battle with No.8 seed Anett Kontaveit to triumph 6-3, 7-6(2) in the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on Sunday.
18 prior tournaments had taken place in the season without a repeat singles titlist to be found, but Kvitova finally became the first woman to double her trophies for the year after her hour-and-a-half victory over the 15th-ranked Estonian.
"So, we are three of us now," Kvitova said to the press with a laugh, referring to Dominic Thiem's Barcelona title on Sunday leading him to join Roger Federer as the only two-time champions on the men's tour. "I’m glad of course for breaking this streak."
Kvitova saved two set points at 5-4 in the second set, before recovering and reaching the tiebreak, where she took control en route to victory. The Czech also won the title in Sydney in January, before reaching the final at the Australian Open, where she fell to current World No.1 Naomi Osaka. With the title, Kvitova extends her lead as No.1 on the Porsche Race to Shenzhen.
"I played Anett a few tiebreaks in the past, and I almost lost all of them, which wasn’t really nice going to the tiebreak," said Kvitova. "My last service game actually I played amazing. I really had the great serves over there, and I was just continuing in the tiebreak from the beginning. So, I think I was pretty patient and I was just there and trying not to really be that hectic, as probably like I was before."
"Today it was ups and downs a little bit, as well as how I felt the match a little bit," Kvitova added. "I just really had to push myself to play more aggressive and not really give her time to do her job -- with her forehand crosscourt to my backhand, of course it’s pretty difficult for me to kind of do something from that. So, I really tried to not go too far from the baseline."
The champion doubled Kontaveit's winners by 20 to 10 while having only three more unforced errors than the Estonian. Kvitova won a staggering 77 percent of points when she got her first serve into play, and converted three of her six break points during the tilt.
"I’m so glad that I reached the final, already," said Kvitova. "I’ve been in semifinals before but not in the final. Of course, winning this trophy and a beautiful car is a big bonus. And I’m glad that I actually broke my streak losing in the final as well. So -- juchu!"
Kvitova was forced to evade two break points in the very first game of the match, signalling that she would face a stern battle from Kontaveit. But once the Czech wriggled out of that game with a service hold, she took control of the first set with her power game.
After a love hold for 3-2, punctuated with a thunderous ace, Kvitova fired powerful returns at the Estonian, eventually reaching double break point of her own after Kontaveit double faulted. Kvitova converted her first opportunity, attaining the crucial break with a fierce forehand winner.
Kontaveit nearly drew herself back into the opening frame, getting to 0-30 as Kvitova served for the set at 5-3. But the Czech set up forehand winners with big serves to pull back to 30-30, and a long return by Kontaveit followed, bringing up set point. Kvitova converted the chance as another fiery forehand forced an error from the Estonian.
Kvitova claimed a break in the opening game of the second set as well, before Kontaveit was able to obtain her first service break of the encounter in the very next game. The hard-hitting Estonian started to turn the set in her favor, clinching a second consecutive service break with a backhand winner down the line to lead 3-1.
World No.3 Kvitova successfully got back on serve by forcing errors in the next game, but the Czech was not as imposing on serve in the second set as she had been in the opener. Kontaveit nearly made Kvitova pay for that at 5-4, when Kvitova double faulted to hand Kontaveit a set point. Kvitova used her forehand to erase that chance as well as a second set point, before grinding out a hold for 5-5.
After holding at love with an ace to queue up the tiebreak, Kvitova suddenly pulled out the vintage level which has led her to two Wimbledon titles. Big serving put her up 3-0 in the breaker, and a forehand winner brought her to 6-0, lining up six match points. Kontaveit saved two, but a final fiery forehand on the third was the charm, as Kvitova sealed the Stuttgart crown.