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Petra Kvitova defeats Elena Rybakina to win Miami, her biggest title in almost five years
It’s her first Miami title, ninth WTA 1000 title, 20th WTA title on hard courts and the 30th WTA title of her career, period.
Published Apr 01, 2023
Petra Kvitova has won the Miami Open—her biggest title in almost five years—after a thrilling 7-6 (14), 6-2 victory over the red-hot Elena Rybakina in the final of the WTA 1000 tournament.
The Czech fought off five set points to win the 22-minute first set tie-break, then broke early in the second set and never looked back en route to a straight-set victory over the Kazakh.
“The tie-break was deciding all the match today, I think. I think it was the longest one I ever played in my life,” Kvitova said. “If I didn’t serve, I couldn’t be there—I got like three aces at the beginning and it was really tough. I had a break in the first set, and she broke me back. It’s nothing easy to hang with Elena as I did today. So I’m really happy, I’m very exhausted—but happy most of the time.”
Kvitova unlocked a slew of achievements with her victory:
It’s her first Miami Open title. It was her 13th career appearance at the event, the most tries just to reach the final—let alone win it.
It’s her ninth WTA 1000 title. She’s also won in Madrid three times (2011, 2015 and 2018), in Wuhan twice (2014 and 2016) and in Canada (2012), Tokyo (2013) and Doha (2018) once each.
It’s the 20th WTA hard-court title of her career. She’s now tied for second-most among active players, trailing only Venus Williams (31) and now tied with Victoria Azarenka (20).
It’s the 30th WTA title of her career, period. She’s standalone second place among active players for that one, after Venus (49).
It’s her biggest title in nearly five years. Her last triumph at the WTA 1000 level or higher came at Madrid in May of 2018.
She snapped Rybakina’s 13-match winning streak, and also became the first player to win a tie-break against the Kazakh this year. Rybakina was 7-0 in breakers this year, and so close to 8-0.
She's now projected to return to the Top 10. The former No. 2, who came into Miami ranked No. 12—and who was No. 32 a year ago—will return to the elite for the first time since September 2021.
Though Rybakina came into the final with a scary amount of momentum—13 wins in a row, to be exact—Kvitova did win their last meeting in straight sets in Adelaide this year, the week before the Australian Open, and after eight straight holds to start the match it was the Czech who drew first blood, breaking for 5-4.
Rybakina broke right back for 5-all, though, and after two more holds they headed for what would become a tie-break to remember—a 22-minute slugfest where both would have multiple chances to clinch the set. Kvitova brought up her first set point at 6-5, then Rybakina her first set point at 7-6, and the two kept nudging ahead of each other but then clinging on, too.
Finally, on her fifth set point—and after fighting off five set points against her—it was Kvitova who finally converted to close out the breaker and the 66-minute first set, 16-14. She then held, broke and held for a 3-0 lead in the second set and just kept stretching the lead from there, eventually breaking one last time to close it out.
Rybakina’s match numbers were actually solid—22 winners to 24 unforced errors—but Kvitova finished with more than twice as many winners as unforced errors, 29 to 14. She also converted three of eight break points, while the Kazakh converted one of two.