Return to top 10 all the sweeter for Kvitova

PHOTO: REUTERS

DOHA • Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has set her sights on winning Majors again after defeating Garbine Muguruza in the Qatar Open final on Sunday for her second title of the season.

The Czech secured back-to-back titles for the first time since 2011 with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win, adding to her triumph in St Petersburg earlier this month.

"That's why I came back, to try to have great results in the Grand Slams and the big tournaments," said Kvitova, after sealing her return into the world's top 10 for the first time since a horrific knife attack at her home in December 2016 left her with an injured hand.

The 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion began the year ranked No. 29 and came into this tournament No. 21. She had to beat four players in the top 10 this week in Doha, including world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, to take the title.

The trophy marked her 22nd career tournament victory. It also extended her winning streak to 13 matches, just one short of her career record.

"It feels great (to be No. 10)," the 27-year-old said. "I mean, first of all, I think that it feels much better right now because top 10 is the number. Of course, it's such a great achievement to be back there.

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  • Kvitova beat four top-10 players to enter their ranks herself.

"I couldn't really dream about it one year ago when I was in (a) total different position trying to come back and play. And for me, it's something that's amazing. I couldn't wish for more. I played great tennis, St Petersburg and here as well. So that means a lot to me."

She was in trouble when Spain's Muguruza took a 5-0 lead in the first set. But the former world No. 2 dug deep to take the contest into a decider and ground out the victory.

Asked how she turned the contest around, she said: "I have no idea. I just tried. It was a tough match, a big fight and hopefully, the people enjoyed it."

In total, she faced 11 break points, but only lost her serve in the first set.

Muguruza finished the game with heavy strapping on her left knee but was hopeful there was no serious problem afterwards.

"I think I had a lot of break points and I didn't convert them," said the fourth seed. "I think if I would have got one of those break points, it would be different."

Despite the defeat, she moved up one position in the rankings to No. 3.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2018, with the headline 'Return to top 10 all the sweeter for Kvitova'. Print Edition | Subscribe