Elena Rybakina and Petra Kvitova will play for the title in Saturday's final of Miami Open 2023. Both players have won their semifinal matches in straight sets to reach out their maiden appearance in the final on Hard Rock Stadium. Rybakina will try to follow the success in Indian Wells to achieve the victory in both Sunshine Double tournament.
The Kazakh was facing Jessica Pegula in the super exciting semifinal match-up. Rybakina approached the clash against world's number 3 and the top American player with a streak of 12 wins in a row. Interestingly, both players were coming out of defending matchpoints in the tournament in their road to semifinal. The reigning Wimbledon champion was a pre-match favorite, but Pegula had her chances to regret. The American was leading the opening set with a break advantage three times, not being able to convert it into clinching this set to her tally. Rybakina managed to respond coming back from the score 4-5 and 5-6 on her opponent's serve and forced the tiebreak, won by herself 7-3. Second set had similar course of events, as it was Pegula again to start from the front foot. She was leading 3-0 and 4-2 with a single break. At the end, Rybakina managed to fight back another time, winning 4 games in a row and securing the final spot with a score 7-6(3) 6-4.
"Jessica played really well in some moments. It is not easy to play against her because she keeps the ball really low, and it is difficult to redirect the ball. I was playing today better when I was down. Then I think that I was doing everything correct. It was just not enough maybe energy. Maybe I was getting a bit mad when I was down. So I was trying to push myself. I think that I started a bit more aggressive, because also, I knew that if it's gonna go to the third set, it's gonna be much more difficult, so I maybe risked a bit more even in the end of the second set." - said Rybakina in the post-match interview, following her 13th consecutive win.
"Against Petra I played in the beginning of the year, and she played really well, but it was much faster courts there,. I think it is gonna be different if I play against her again, but for sure it is a lot physically, because here the courts are quite slow, especially after rain. When it is that humid, it is not easy." - added the world's number 7 about her thoughts about the final clash against Kvitova.
The Czech advanced to the final after defeating Sorana Cirstea, denying second's career's WTA 1000 final appearance for the Romanian who was the biggest sensation of this tournament on females side. The end of opening set was possibly the turning point of this match, as Cirstea gained the break advantage in 6th game and was close to win the set, serving for it in 10th game and being *5-4 40-15 up, having two setpoints. Kvitova managed to defend both and break the Romanian to comeback into this set. She followed it with another break in 11th game and took the set with a score 7-5. The Czech followed the blow in the opening game of second set, earning third break in a row, which was the decisive one as it occured. Cirstea did not produce any single breakpoint in this set, and the match ended up with a score 7-5 6-4.
Kvitova has commented her win and praised her final opponent in the post-match interview: "I am very happy for sure. I waited quite long to be in the final here. I am happy I made it finally. It was very difficult, so I am very happy to get through and to have a chance to play the final tomorrow. Rybakina is playing very good, winning Indian Wells, returning here in the final. For sure it is a great achievement. She is a big hitter, big server as well. I im the same. It depends really how we are gonna handle the pressure from the opponent."