Karolina Muchova was on top form to capture her first WTA title at the KEB Hana Bank Korea Open with a straight-sets defeat of Magda Linette.
Alex Macpherson
September 22, 2019

SEOUL, South Korea - No.3 seed Karolina Muchova had to wait six hours to take to the court for the KEB Hana Bank Korea Open final due to rain - but wasted no time once there, racing to her maiden title with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over No.4 seed Magda Linette in one hour and eight minutes.

The pair's only previous encounter had been a two-hour, 45-minute epic in the Bronx quarterfinals last month, won 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(3) by Linette on the way to her own first WTA trophy.

In today's rather more straightforward encounter, though, Muchova was near-untouchable as the Czech, who had lost her first final at home in Prague in May to Jil Teichmann, sought to achieve yet another milestone in her career-best season.

"It was a very long day for both of us. We were here since 10 in the morning and everyone was still sitting here in the rain, but we really appreciate everyone who stayed and supported us," Muchova said on-court during the trophy ceremony.

"I'm really happy that I finally made it through a final, because I played one already this year and it didn't go super well. I'm very happy to hold a trophy and I will enjoy that. It's definitely nice, and I need to keep working."

As Muchova has soared from her 2018 year-end ranking of World No.145 to her current World No.45 via showstopping performances such as her Wimbledon quarterfinal run - which included a 4-6, 7-5, 13-11 upset over Karolina Pliskova in the fourth round - the 23-year-old has impressed with the sheer range and creativity of her repertoire. Today, all facets of her game were clicking: effortlessly dictating the pace and direction of rallies with her forehand, Muchova also swarmed the net to glorious effect and maintained an impregnable 90% winning percentage behind her first serve. Indeed, she would concede only six points on serve in total, and never faced a break point.

Speeding through eight of the first nine points for an immediate break, Muchova then battled through a four-deuce tussle to grab a second break as  Linette sent a volley over the baseline. The Pole would get on the scoreboard with a service hold in the fifth game, but serving to stay in the set collapsed somewhat, coughing up three double faults - including two in a row on the final two points - to hand a one-sided opening act to her opponent.

Matters did not improve in the second set for the 27-year-old, who had committed 15 unforced errors in the first set, with a fourth double fault making an unwelcome appearance down break point in the second game. By contrast, Muchova was riding high and racking up the aces, tallying four as she took a 3-0 lead.

Linette would once again need to battle hard just to get on the scoreboard, coming up with a pair of fine lobs to do so in the fourth game, but another unfortunate flurry of double faults again hoved into view in the sixth game, with three more taking her final total to seven. Muchova needed little encouragement to seize her opportunity, firing a forehand winner down the line to break for 5-1 and then serving out to 15, taking her second championship point with an off backhand winner.