Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova, fifth seeded, was expected to have a good fight in form of crowds favourite and Australia's Ashleigh Barty in the Sydney International final. The same happened as Kvitova prevailed on top eventually but had to dig deep. Thus, this becomes her second title in the tournament history and a fitting preparation ahead of Australian Open 2019.
On the other hand, Barty -- despite being at her best prior to the final -- had to settle for the runner-up spot for the second time in a row. Earlier in 2018, she had lost to former world No. 1 and Germany's Angelique Kerber.
How it happened
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 had a different script to unfold. Kvitova recovered from her tentative start and held serve throughout the second set amidst the crowds backing 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 eventually turned out to be the turning point of the encounter.
Talking about the decider, Barty took a 3-0 lead only to lose the following three games in a row. Both players swapped service breaks two more times in the final four games, pushing the set to a tie break.
In the tie-breaker, Kvitova dictated terms and won the final four points in a row to claim her second Sydney International title, following her successful campaign in 2015. It was Barty's rusty approach and failure to win few crucial moments which cost her the championship.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega