Petra Kvitova clinched a berth in the Miami Open tennis final for the first time in her career with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Sorana Cirstea in the semifinals on Friday.
Kvitova, playing in her 99th WTA 1000 event this week, had never before gotten past the quarterfinals in Miami. Kvitova will bid for her ninth career WTA 1000 title in her 13th final appearance on Saturday, as she will lock horns with Elena Rybakina.
Kvitova defeated Cirstea in part by winning the opening set after falling behind. The Romanian started the match with a 4-1 advantage on hard courts and appeared on track to maintain that dominance in the first set, despite having a 6-4 overall head-to-head advantage over Cirstea.
In her second service game of the set, each player saved a break point, and Cirstea required four more opportunities in her sixth service game to become the first player to break serve. Cirseta eventually had a 5-2 advantage in the opening set, but she was unable to capitalise on either of her two set points at 5-4. Kvitova won 10 straight points from deuce at 5-4 in the opening set, and five straight games in all, to take the lead. She held serve from 0-30 to win the first set.
Kvitova broke Cirstea in the first game of the second set, which was her third consecutive break of the match, and she never looked back. In five service games throughout the second set, she only dropped seven points.
"I'm very happy for sure. I waited quite a long to be in the final here. I'm happy I made it finally. It was very difficult, so I'm very happy to get through and to have a chance to play the final tomorrow," WTA.com quoted Kvitova as saying after the match.
"She's playing very good, winning Indian Wells, returning here in the final. For sure it's a great achievement. She's a big hitter, a big server as well. I'm the same. It depends really on how we are gonna handle the pressure from the opponent," Kvitova said. (ANI)