Doha Dispatch—Kvitova returns to Top 10 with win over Muguruza (VIDEO)

by: Nina Pantic | February 18, 2018

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The Czech fought back from a set down—again—in the 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. (AP)

DOHA — Against all odds, Petra Kvitova was crowned the Qatar Total Open champion on Sunday. During the week, the world No. 21 fought back from a set deficit on three separate occasions, including in the 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 final over Garbine Muguruza

"It feels great. It's a beautiful trophy. It took a while to have it, for sure definitely," Kvitova said. "I spent two [hour] and something on the court again. So I don't know how I did it. But it's worth it."

In front of a packed stadium, Kvitova started off poorly once again. Just like in her dropped opening sets to Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki, the Czech struggled to reign in her shots.

"I had a tough match against [Radwanska] in the second round, which I thought probably I'm done in the match because I couldn't really move, and I didn't know how to turn that match [around]," Kvitova said. "So on the other hand, probably that gave me something more than just the match."

With the No. 4-seeded Muguruza up 5-0 in what felt like seconds, Kvitova could have let the first set go. But instead, she did what the most experienced players know to do: she dug in. The chances of her winning that set was extremely unlikely, but by battling her way back to 5-3, she gave herself some momentum going into the next set.

"I tried to come back somehow to play more rallies," Kvitova said. "I made a lot of unforced errors, same as yesterday, so probably all the experience which I had through this tournament helped me to turn it around today as well."

Kvitova then found her range, something Muguruza was wary of.

"In the second set it was more what I was expecting: a tough match," Muguruza said. 

Kvitova won their last meeting at the US Open in straight sets, and now leads their head-to-head record 4-1. When she controls the point with her big serves and bigger groundstrokes, and steps into the court with her imposing frame, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop her.

Highlights:

Muguruza did her best to stay in the match, even with a knee injury sustained at 2-2 in the third set. But the outcome of the match was in Kvitova’s capable hands, which have now won 13 straight matches (and two straight titles).

"When [she] took a medical timeout, the wind started more and more, which it was pretty annoying for me," Kvitova said. "I tried to play to the middle, not really think about the wind that much."

This week, the lefty took out four Top 10 players in row, as well as former world No. 2 Radwanska, and she did it while smiling through exhaustion. The very likeable 27-year-old was rewarded with a gold eagle trophy, $590,000 in prize money, fireworks and confetti show and, last but not least, a ranking boost back into the Top 10.

"I think it doesn't matter the ranking she has. She's always going to be like a Top 10 player," Muguruza said. "On the paper it makes it nicer, but I think if she's No. 50 or whatever, I think she's always good."

The last time Kvitova was No. 10 was in June of 2016, six months before an armed robbery left her with a mangled left hand and cast her career into uncertainty.

"I couldn't really dream about it one year ago when I was in total different position trying to come back and play," Kvitova said. "For me, it's something that's amazing, let's say. I couldn't really wish for more."


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