P. Kvitova b.  E. Rybakina 7-6(14) 6-2
While some people consider “13” an unlucky number, for Petra Kvitova it was “13th time lucky” in Miami. On her 13th appearance at the Miami Open the 2-time Wimbledon champion clinched her first title in Southern Florida, as well as the first title between Miami and Indian Wells. She had never managed to go past the quarterfinals in any of the Sunshine Double tournaments, and this year she went all the way to the end to raise the crystal trophy in the middle of the Hard Rock Stadium.
Despite 12 aces and an impressive performance on serve during the first set, Indian Wells champion and Australian Open finalist Elena Rybakina could not keep her game together during the frantic first set tie-break, when she was the first to get a lead and could not manage to convert five set point, one of which on her serve.
THE MATCH – Rybakina started slow and had to face two break points in the opening game, but she came out of the situation brilliantly with two powerful serves. And the serve was the leitmotiv of the first set for Rybakina, who in the 66-minute set ended up with 10 aces and an 86% of points scored on her first serve. Kvitova insisted on her strategy to go for a full-swing shot on most of her returns, this way allowing many free points to Rybakina on her serve.
The strategy paid dividends at 4-4, when the Kazakh player was pushed to a double fault for 30-30 on her fifth service game and a subsequent backhand down the line from Kvitova set up the conditions for the first break of the match. But the former Wimbledon champion from the Czech Republic was unable to convert the opportunity and conceded four unforced errors during the following game to allow her opponent to clinch the break back taking advantage of four unforced errors by Kvitova.
Two games at love introduced the first set to a tie-break that ended up lasting 16 minutes and saw five set points each. Rybakina was leading 4-2 but it was Kvitova to get to set point first at 6-5. Both had the opportunity to play one of the set points on their serve: Rybakina did not put in the first serve and missed a backhand, while Kvitova served better and forced her opponent to make a forehand error.
That first set opened up the match for the Czech veteran, who broke early in the second with three winning returns for 2-0. Rybakina’s effectiveness on serve waned as games progressed, dropping to a 62% conversion rate on first serves and a mere 36% on second serves. The Indian Wells champion managed to stave off a 0-4 opportunity for Kvitova as the match was running away from her, but Kvitova was too solid, too confident and too eager to win her seventh WTA 1000 title to be stopped.
Rybakina’s third double fault and two unforced errors in the eighth game sealed the destiny for this message and sent Petra Kvitova to celebrate in the arms of his coach-fiancé Jiri Vanek.
TOP 10 AGAIN – This win is Kvitova’s 30th professional tournament title and seals her return to the top 10 of the WTA ranking for the first time since October 2020, while Rybakina consolidates her ranking at n.7 after an impressive start of the year.
Asian Games Champion Qinwen Zheng Reveals Shock Departure Of Coach Fissette
China’s Qinwen Zheng says she feels ‘hurt’ by the decision of her former coach to end their collaboration in order to work with another player.
The US Open quarter-finalist had been working with Belgium’s Wim Fissette in recent weeks following the departure of Pere Riba who is now the coach of Coco Gauff. Fissette has a wealth of experience in women’s tennis after working with the likes of Kim Clijsters and Naomi Osaka. However, Zheng says she is now looking for a new mentor.
“I understand his decision, but my family and I feel hurt. Right now I don’t want to talk about this person (Fissette),’ journalist Bendou Zhang quoted her as saying.
Fissette is yet to comment on his departure. He had previously coached former world No.1 Osaka between 2019-2022 and during this period she won two of her four Grand Slam titles. The American-based Japanese player is on maternity leave from the sport and gave birth to her first child in July.
20-year-old Zheng is currently ranked 23rd in the world and won her maiden WTA title in Palermo earlier this year. She is the youngest player from her country to have reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam in the Open Era following her run at Flushing Medows. This year she has beaten top 10 players Ons Jabeur and Daria Kasatkina.
Zheng’s latest career milestone is winning gold at the Asian Games on Friday. in the final, she defeated Zhu Lin 6-2, 6-4, in the blistering Hangzhou heat.
“The feeling was incredible,” Zheng said. “I’m really happy about that. That was not an easy match today and also yesterday (in semifinal against Alex Eala). All of them are good fighters.”
It is not clear who Zheng will be working with during the Asian swing.
Daria Kasatkina Criticises Decision To Not Use Roof At Sweltering Pan Pacific Open
Daria Kasatkina has taken a swipe at organizers at the Toray Pan Pacific Open for not using the roof to cover their premier court on Thursday due to the heat.
The Russian played her second round match against Despina Papamichail in temperatures around 30 degrees with the humidity making it feel even warmer. Kasatkina battled to a 6-4, 6-4, win after spending more than two hours on the court. She dropped serve four times in the match but managed to break Papamichail seven times en route to victory.
Speaking on the court following his latest tour win, the world No.13 admitted that she struggled in the conditions and implied that she believed the roof should have been closed to shield the players from the sun. Tokyo, which is where the tournament is staged, has experienced a record-breaking number of ‘extremely hot’ days this year with their autumn season being warmer than usual. Something that some warn could be a more regular occurrence due to climate change.
“We cannot do much about it. We are using the ice towels and some supplements to keep you hydrated. By at the end, you cannot fight with something you cannot control,” Kasatkina commented on the conditions during her on-court interview.
“I think in these kinds of conditions, if you have a roof, better maybe to close it. If you have these opportunities, better to use it than to make players almost die on the field.” She added.
Kasatkina is through to her seventh Tour quarter-final of the season. Awaiting her in the next round will be second seed Jessica Pegula who beat Spain’s Cristina Bucșa 6-1, 6-2, in her second round match on Wednesday. It will be only the second Tour meeting between the two players and their first on a hard court.
Elsewhere in Tokyo, another player to reach the last eight in France’s Caroline Garcia who beat Anhelina Kahlinina 6-4, 6-3. Meanwhile, Anastasia Pavlychenkova defeated Czech Republic’s Linda Noskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.
Barbora Krejcikova Does The Double In San Jose
After what has been a challenging past few weeks on the Tour, Barbora Krejcikova has returned to the winner’s circle by claiming both the singles and doubles titles at the San Diego Open.
The world No.13 battled to a marathon 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, win over Sofia Kenin in what was a clash of the former Grand Slam champions. Krejcikova was pushed to her limits throughout the two-and-a-half-hour clash with there being no break in the decider until the final game. It is the second singles title the Czech has won on the WTA Tour this season after Dubai and her seventh overall.
“Normally I wouldn’t be here,” said Krejcikova, who received a wild card to play in the tournament “I really want to thank them (the tournament organisers). It was very special. I really enjoyed my stay here.”
Krejcikova’s run to the trophy has also seen her score wins over Beatriz Haddad Maia and Danielle Collins earlier in the week. She is the first player from her country to win the tournament.
Following on from that triumph, the 27-year-old then clinched the doubles title alongside compatriot Katerina Siniakova. The duo beat Collins and Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-4.
Krejcikova came into San Jose on a four-match losing streak which started at Wimbledon where she was forced to withdraw from her secound round clash due to a left leg injury.
“I came here with not really good statistics after my injury, I didn’t actually win any matches,” she said. “So I just came here and I pretty much was hoping and believing that I could get the first win and go from there. It’s pretty special to be sitting here having won [the title].”
It is only the second time in Krejcikova’s career that she has won both the singles and doubles titles at the same event. The first time she did so was at the 2021 French Open where her partner in the doubles was also Siniakova.
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