Tennis

Petra Kvitova defeats Elena Rybakina for 1st Miami Open title

Fifteenth-seeded veteran Petra Kvitova, in her 13th appearance at the Miami Open, finally won her first crown here, upsetting seventh-seed Elena Rybakina on Saturday with a marathon tiebreaker in a 7-6 (14), 6-2 win.

33-year-old Czech veteran snaps Rybakina's 13-match win streak

Petra Kvitova kisses her Miami Open women's single's trophy.
Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic beat Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan in the women's singles final of the Miami Open tennis tournament on Saturday. (Wilfredo Lee/The Associated Press)

Fifteenth-seeded veteran Petra Kvitova, in her 13th appearance at the Miami Open, finally won her first crown here, upsetting seventh-seed Elena Rybakina on Saturday with a marathon tiebreaker in a 7-6 (14), 6-2 win.

The 33-year-old Kvitova, 10 years older than her opponent, snapped Rybakina's 13-match win streak and halted her bid to win the Sunshine Double (Indian Wells and Miami Open).

In winning with will, stalwart defence and one sensational forehand winner on the dead run that electrified the crowd in the second set, the lefty Kvitova captured her 30th WTA singles title of a distinguished career.

After Rybakina hit a forehand long on match point, Kvitova raised her arms and put her hands to her head. She was broken just once in the match. It was her 41st career WTA Finals appearance but first final in Miami.

Kvitova, who is from the Czech Republican, disagreed with the announcement Wimbledon would accept Russian players this year. Rybakina, the reigning Wimbledon champion, is from Moscow but represents Kazakhstan.

A past Wimbledon champion, the six-foot Kvitova won the first-set epic tiebreaker 16-14 on her fifth set point. A suddenly shaky Rybakina hit a forehand long to end the 22-minute tiebreaker; she had been undefeated at 7-0 in tiebreakers in 2023.

The set lasted 66 minutes during which each player held serve until 4-4 then exchanged service breaks. Rybakina finished with 10 aces for the first set while setting the record for most aces in a WTA Tournament, smashing Madison Keys' mark. Rybakina, who had 12 aces total for the match, finished the tournament with 69 for the tournament.

Kvitova broke Rybakina in second game of the second set with a backhand winner on the service return to go up 2-0.

The men's singles final is Sunday and pits Jannik Sinner, coming off his semifinal upset of defending Miami Open champion Carlos Alcaraz, against Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev has won 23 of 24 matches and beat Sinner in the Finals last month in Rotterdam. Sinner, the 10th seed from Italy, is 0-5 against Medvedev and coming off a physical, three-set, three-hour war with Alcaraz that ended late Friday night.

In the men's doubles finals, Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin beat Austin Krajicek and Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (4), 7-5.

There is still a chance for a Canadian title, as Montreal's Leylah Fernandez competes in the women's doubles final on Sunday with American partner Taylor Townsend.

The duo defeated Magda Linette of Poland and American Bernarda Pera in the semifinal, and will face Americans Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula for the title.

With files from CBC Sports

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