The final clash was a big chance for Rybakina to achieve the win in both Sunshine Double tourmanent, following her trophy in Indian Wells two weeks ago. The Kazakh was a pre-match favorite and the possibility of achieving this was definitely on the mind of all who watched this match. The play started quite better for Kvitova who produced two breakpoints in the opening game, but Rybakina came out of trouble, serving 4 points in a row. Both players were holding serve without a trouble till 9th game, when Kvitova produced another breakpoint and capitalized it, moving into the lead. The world number 12 did not manage to serve for set tough, as Rybakina broke back in the following game. The settlement of this set was moved into tiebreak, which was an absolutely stunning battle. It took as long as 30 points in general with both players serving really well, as just 5 points from this were mini-breaks. Both players had 5 setpoints on each side, but it was Kvitova who has finally crossed the line, with a score 16-14.
This crazy ending of opening set was surely the morale boost for Czech, who started second phase from the front foot as well. Kvitova broke her opponent in second game and moved into 3-0 lead after defending the only one breakpoint faced in second set. Rybakina was trying to fight back, but it was not her best day on the court. Despite scoring 12 aces, the Kazakh was more vulnerable on serve than usually, having just 54% first serve accuracy, winning just 48% second serve points, and allowing her more experienced rival to create 8 breakpoints. Kvitova was executing her gameplan perfectly till the end, gaining another break in 8th game, utilizing the first matchpoint and taking the title.
"The tie-break was deciding all the match today. I think it was the longest tie-break I have ever played in my life. It was like one mini break and then other one and we just kept going on the serves. I mean, I totally lost the control of who is serving, who is not, when we are changing the sides and so on. If I did not serve well, I could not be there. I got like three aces at the beginning and it was really tough. I had a break in the first set, and she broke me back. It is nothing easy to hang with Elena as I did today, so I am really happy. I am very exhausted, but happy most of the time. I think I just take it very positively that I can still compete with the best. The tennis world is just very fast, and I cannot really stand there and be watching this trophy all the time, but I have to move forward, of course, as everybody would. It means a lot for me that even in my age I can still win a big tournament.” - said the new Miami Open champion during the post-match press conference.
Kvitova will be ranked 10th in the new WTA ranking on Monday, coming back to the top 10 after 1.5 years. The Miami Open title moves her up also in the WTA race, where she will sit in high 5th place right now. Despite losing the final, Elena Rybakina has also the reasons to cheer for. She settled down in career's highest 7th place in the ranks. WTA race looks much more promising for the Kazakh, who sits strong in 2nd place right now. Rybakina has 3211 points, being just 314 behind Aryna Sabalenka and those players are definitely the ones to beat in the further part of the season right now. The gap behind Rybakina is quite huge, as 3rd Jessica Pegula is 1305 points behind her. The reigning Wimbledon champion will surely move up in the official ranking, as she defends less than 1000 points till the end of the season.