SYDNEY – Fifth-seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic had to dig deep on Saturday to defeat Australia’s Ashleigh Barty for her second Sydney International title.
For the second year in a row, Barty had to settle for the runner-up spot, having lost in the 2018 final to former world No. 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany and Australians had to wait for another year for a local women’s champion.
“Sorry I could not get it done today but I left it all out there,” Barty said during the trophy ceremony after the two-hour 20-second long battle.
If she lost the 2018 final in straight sets, this time Barty nearly made it, if not for a combative Kvitova, who kept her cool while serving to finally dominate in the match.
Seeking to culminate her impressive Sydney run, Barty stormed into a 4-0 lead and a few games later she proceeded to seal the set and move a step closer to another upset having defeated world No. 1 Simona Halep and world No. 12 Elise Mertens on her way to the final.
The second set, however, was a different story as Kvitova recovered from her slow start and held serve throughout the second set, as did a crowd-backed Barty.
It was in the ninth game when Kvitova had to serve to stay in the match and she did it in strong fashion without dropping a game for 5-5.
This was a turning point in the match, as the Czech player earned her first service break in the 11th game and then she drew level at a set apiece when she served for the set in the following game.
Barty took a 3-0 lead in a seesaw third set, only to lose the following three games in a row and both players swapped service break twice more in the final four games, pushing the set to a tiebreak.
Kvitova dictated in the tiebreak, winning the final four points in a row to claim her second Sydney International title, following her successful campaign in 2015.