The 33-year-old Czech, a two-time Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, won her ninth title in a tournament in this category, located just below the Grand Slams, five years after the previous one won in Madrid. Enough to return to the top 10 on Monday, according to the WTA projection.
She now has 30 trophies to her name for 41 finals played, a remarkable ratio that makes her the most successful player on the circuit still active behind the American Venus Williams (49).
The second oldest player to win in Miami, behind Serena Williams who had 166 days more when she was crowned in 2015, Kvitova had promised to "fight like a beautiful devil" to thwart the predictions in favor of Rybakina, whose momentum seemed indeed irresistible, fifteen days after her victory in Indian Wells and two months after her final, certainly lost, at the Australian Open.
But the 23-year-old Kazakhstani, revealed by her triumph at Wimbledon last year, has evolved a tone below what she has proposed in recent weeks, without this taking away any merit from her rival.
In the first set, both players were very solid on their commitments, until 4-4, the moment chosen by Kvitova to break the first. A very short-lived ascendancy because Rybakina, who is not the type to panic with her back to the wall - she saved a match ball at the beginning of the tournament, before toppling the Spaniard Paula Badosa - immediately returned the favor.
Czech Petra Kvitova (r) wins the Miami tournament, beating Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina (l) in the final on April 1, 2023 © AL BELLO/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP
The decision was made in the decisive game, also very close, during which the direct faults weighed more than the winning shots. And it was after 22 minutes and 30 points that the Czech was a little less feverish, converting her fifth set ball - the Kazakhstani wasted as much, despite five aces placed (12 in total).
In the aftermath, Kvitova broke Rybakina at the beginning of the second set, a preamble to a lone rider as her opponent dropped down, creating only one opportunity to break, missed.
More solid and consistent, the Czech signs with this victory his return to the foreground.
© 2023 AFP