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 Thomas 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 triumphing 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. She's playing very good, winning Indian Wells, returning here in the final. For sure it's a great achievement," said Kvitova.

"She's a big hitter, big server as well. I'm the same. It depends really how we are going to handle the pressure from the opponent," she added.

Cirstea tempered her disappointment at her exit with a reflection on a "Sunshine Swing" which saw her exceed most expectations.

"I worked very hard to be here and of course, it's nice to back up all this work with the results and definitely a quarter and a semi were great," she said.

"Of course, I'm a bit sad about today because I felt I had my chances but again I'm leaving the US with a smile on my face and with a lot of things to improve as well," she added.


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