Australia’s Ash Barty has had some big matches against Czech player Petra Kvitova, especially in 2019. They met in the final of the Sydney International with Kvitova winning a thrilling come back win. Then they met in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, that time an easy win for Kvitova.
In Miami they were lining up for the fifth time, Kvitova having won all four previous meetings.
Both players held serve in their opening games, then with Barty serving at 1-1 the rain came, it eased off, but was still threatening. With the score at 1-2 30-15 with Kvitova serving the players sat down due to the rain.
After about a two-hour rain delay the players made it back onto court. Kvitova was playing to reach the world no. 1 ranking if she could get past Barty and go on to win the title. Barty was looking to lock up a top-10 ranking and also to win her first Premier Mandatory title.
After the warm-up Kvitova was serving and she held for 2-2.
In the next game Kvitova blasted a forehand at the feet of Barty, the Australian could not get into position and a break point opportunity was there for the world no. 2. Kvitova repeated the dose, but this time off the backhand side to force an error from Barty. The Czech was ahead 3-2.
Kvitova hit wide on game point to take the score to deuce. Barty had a look at a second serve and she really stepped into a backhand forcing an error to have a break back point. The Czech hit long on the next point and the players were level at 3-3.
The players then held serve all the way through to a tie-breaker.
Kvitova raced out to a 4-1 lead, it could have easily been 5-1 but Barty landed a volley on the line for 4-2. A missed shot long from Barty saw Kvitova at 5-2, but Barty came roaring back to win the tie break 8-6 despite Kvitova holding a set point at 6-5.
The world no. 2 broke early in the second set but was broken to be back on serve before getting another break to send the match to a deciding third set.
Barty jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the final set. Kvitova broke back for 2-3 as she was stepping up to serve, but just when you thought Barty had gone off the boil she struck back to win the next three games and claim her biggest win to-date.
Earlier this year ahead of the Sydney International Barty was on a Sydney Harbour Cruise with Kvitova and several other top players. As she spoke to the media, including us here at Robicia Tennis she spoke about a goal of reaching the top-ten. After her great performances in Miami, she can now tick that off.
“It was important for me to try and take Petra’s serve away from her as much as possible,” Barty told press afterward. “She’s got an absolute world-class serve.
“At times it was still out of my control, but I tried to do the best I could and tried to get into as many service games as I could, and I thought I did that really well tonight.”
Next up for Barty is Anett Kontaveit the world no. 19 who had earlier defeated Hsieh Su-Wei 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.