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Return Winners: The 2018 Prague final
Petra Kvitova and Mihaela Buzarnescu battled in the championship match.
Published Aug 15, 2020
Home favorite Petra Kvitova faced Mihaela Buzarnescu for the title in Prague in 2018.
In 2017, still recovering from a hand injury she suffered during a home invasion that made headlines around the world, Kvitova watched the Prague Open from the stands. A year later, with her comeback in full swing, the world No. 10 returned to the tournament as the second seed. With her powerful game translating well to the clay, she advanced to the final without dropping a set.
In the championship match, she’d face another player who knew about comebacks: the seventh seed, Buzarnescu. After injuries had forced out of the game for years—a period that she used to earn her doctorate degree—the Romanian had been battling up the rankings, and reached her second final of 2018.
Facing each other for the first time, the two players came into the match with vastly different levels of experience: Kvitova was a two-time Wimbledon champion with more than 20 singles titles overall, while Buzarnescu was playing only her second career final. Helped along by five double faults from Kvitova, Buzarnescu overcame an early deficit and managed to grab the opening set 6-4.
In the second set, Kvitova settled into a groove on both her serve and return, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. Buzarnescu pressed her later on in the set, but it wasn’t enough as Kvitova won it 6-2 to send the match into a decider. Gaining an early break, the Czech consolidated her advantage and served for the title up 5-3, 40-15, clinching it when Buzarnescu hit a backhand long to win her first tournament on home soil.
In both of her career finals, Buzarnescu faced the second seed and lost in three sets, falling to Elise Mertens at the beginning of the year in Hobart.
Kvitova won her third career clay-court title, and first outside of Madrid.
In all four years of the tournament at the WTA International level, at least one Czech player landed a spot in the final.