Kvitova downs Cirstea to reach Miami Open final



Petra Kvitova powered into the final of the WTA Miami Open on Friday with a straight sets victory over Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.

Czech veteran Kvitova advanced to a Saturday showdown against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina with a 7-5, 6-4 win in 1hr 41min.

In a battle of two of the WTA’s more experienced players, Cirstea, playing in her first WTA semi-final in a decade, was fastest out of the blocks, taking a 5-2 lead in the first set.

But the Romanian, who is enjoying a revival in form having also reached the last eight at Indian Wells, failed to convert on either of the two set points she had on serve at 5-4, with Kvitova breaking twice to take the set.

The Czech’s momentum carried over into the second set where she broke Cirstea in the opening game, her third straight break, and from then it was smooth sailing for the 33-year-old.

The two-time Wimbledon winner lost just seven points in five service games in the second set as she advanced to the Miami final for the first time.

It was a disappointing end for the 32-year-old Cirstea, whose performances have been transformed since she began working with Swedish coach Tho-mas Johansson in the off-season.

Kvitova’s victory gives her the chance of a ninth career WTA 1000 title in what will be her 13th final.

The Czech hasn’t won a WTA 1000 since tri-umphing in Madrid for a third time in 2018.

Rybakina beat American Jessica Pegula in straight sets in the other semi, played on Thursday, and is looking to complete the “Sunshine Double” having won at Indian Wells earlier this month.

Kvitova and Rybakina have met twice previously with the Kazakhstan player winning in Ostrava but the Czech enjoying revenge in Adelaide in January. “It’s 1-1 so we will see tomorrow who is going to take it.—AFP