Without a doubt, Elena Rybakina was the biggest favourite to win the 2023 Miami Open but she found an opponent that stopped her.
The last player that defeated currently the second player in the 2023 WTA Race was Beatriz Haddad Maia at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Open in February. After that loss, Rybakina started a 13-match winning streak, which included also the Indian Wells triumph.
In Miami, Rybakina’s performances were nothing short of remarkable as she came back from a match point down against Paula Badosa and managed to win in matches in which she struggled and didn’t play her best tennis.
But in the final, the Kazakh took on Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic. The two-time Wimbledon champion was playing well in Miami, but she didn’t face any Top 10 player on her way to the final. Rybakina was her first test and she was ready to succeed.
In the first set, the Czech had her chances early on. She had two break points in the first set, but couldn’t use her chances. However, in the ninth game, Kvitova used her chance and led for the first time in the match.
The Czech player served for the first set, but she didn’t finish it off as Rybakina used her only break point and so the first set had to be decided in a tie-break.
When the tie-break started, probably no one expected it to be as long as it actually was. Both players had multiple chances to win the set, with Rybakina and Kvitova both having five set points. But the more experienced Kvitova made use of her last chance and won the tie-break 16-14.
Rybakina couldn’t find her A-game in the second set and kept missing quite often. On the other hand, Kvitova played one of her best matches in a long time, painting the lines all over the court.
After an hour and 42 minutes, the Czech player won the match 7-6(14), 6-2 to win the 2023 Miami Open. Kvitova lifted her first WTA 1000 trophy since 2018 when she triumphed in Madrid.
In the new WTA Rankings on Monday, Rybakina will stay seventh. On the other hand, Kvitova will return to the Top 10 for the first time since 2021.