Miami: Kvitova's strikes 30, Medvedev rules again

The Magic City delivered another memorable Miami Open, with a comeback triumph and a riveting run extended.

Petra Kvitova / Finale Miami 2023©Sindy Thomas / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

The Sunshine Swing is officially over, but the Miami Open served up a action-packed fortnight with a fitting finale to the hard court swing.

Two first-time champions in south Florida, two modern day greats of the sport. Petra Kvitova rallied to a milestone 30th career title, whilst Daniil Medvedev claimed his fifth Masters 1000 trophy, his first since Toronto 2021.

Let's catch up with the winners.

Petra's persistence pays off

On Sunday night Kvitova posted on social media; "Proud Tired. Happy. Grateful. Thank you for staying on this crazy ride with me." No thank you Petra, it's been iconic.

The incredibly popular Czech reached the landmark 30th title, her ninth WTA 1000 trophy, with a week brimming with passion.

It's the 33-year-old's most significant triumph since Madrid 2018, prompting some emotional scenes at Championship point.

"Even after ups it's tough to get back to work, I would say. The downs make you really feel sad, and you just want to like kick it and just do better. So that's why probably you just go to the court and trying to be better player every time you're on the court," said Kvitova, who clinched her maiden WTA 1000 glory back in 2011.

"I love the game, but I think is the motivation to do something better, and because I had a lot of ups, as well, that's always been the motivation to have them again.

"I think this is the best feeling what you can have, winning a final."

Catching the 'best of' video of Kvitova's week on the WTA website, you see the textbook lefty serve bamboozling the opposition, the windscreen wiper groundstrokes pinging winners, there were numerous roars of "pojd," this was a trademark week from the pumped-up Czech.

The final embodied why Kvitova is such a popular figure and enthralling watch. She saved five set points in a marathon opening tie-break, before snapping Indian Wells champion Elena Rybakina's Sunshine Swing winning streak 7-6(14), 6-2 to mark a return to the Top 10.

The previous 29 title triumphs certainly provided a reassuring boost.

"I think the experience today played a good role in my mind. I played so many finals. I know I can play well in the final no matter who I'm facing," revealed the new world No.10. 

"The young ones are coming up all the time. It's tough to really face them all the time. It's very tiring… It was really like mad match, especially the tie-break."

Roland-Garros is fast approaching, memories flood back of two Wimbledon triumphs, it's time for Kvitova to keep building momentum. It's also a result which will have caught the attention of the other key major contenders.

"I have no idea what this will do in the season. I think I'm playing pretty good tennis starting the year, but didn't go really deep in the tournament. Finally I have it," said a relieved Kvitova.

"I think I just take it very positively that I can still compete with the best. You know, the clay is waiting and then it's grass. The tennis world is just very fast, and I can't really stand there and be watching this trophy all the time, but I have to move forward, as everybody would.

"It means a lot for me that even in my age I can still win a big tournament."

Elena Rybakina & Petra Kvitova / Finale Miami 2023©Sindy Thomas / FFT

Medvedev Masters the Magic City

25 matches in 48 days, you can forgive Medvedev for having "shaky hands," exhausted physically and mentally from an astonishing run.

The 27-year-old has reached the last five finals, collecting the top prize in four of those events with a 24-1 record. Any doubters are silenced, Daniil is well and truly back.

"This year Australia was not good enough, so I'm happy that I managed to turn the other part around," stated the recent Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai champion.

"I always try to do my best, always try to work hard. You never know when it's gonna pay, and I'm happy that it did pay at this moment.

"It's the best start of the season I have ever had. Amazing amount of points won. For sure a pity there was no Grand Slam at this period of time, but generally super happy and looking forward to the season even more."

En route to the Indian Wells final two weeks ago (falling to Carlos Alcaraz), Medvedev described himself as a "hard court specialist", complaining to the tournament over a 'slow' court speed.

Well, it’s hard to argue with his expertise after this Miami magic. The world No.4 scooped his fifth Masters for the 19th title of his career at a 19th different event, courtesy of a bruising three set victory over childhood friend Karen Khachanov, before 7-5, 6-3 over Alcaraz's conqueror Jannik Sinner.

After six matches of whipping crafty shots and heavy serves, Medvedev admitted his efforts took their toll, by signing the broadcast camera with 'shaky hands'.

"I didn't have any pain, but mentally was not easy," explained the menacing 27-year-old. "It was my finally first win in one year and a half at an event like a Masters, at the end I felt a little bit tight."

Just like Kvitova, this triumph meant a lot, but it also rubber stamped his legacy in the modern game.

Medvedev, a former world No.1, has now competed in the trophy showdown in all hard court Masters 1000, ATP Finals and Grand Slams. Only Indian Wells remains from his title haul.

Jannik Sinner & Daniil Medvedev / Finale Miami 2023©Sindy Thomas / FFT

The 2021 US Open champion hailed his consistency for chalking up such regular, stellar results.

"That's the toughest part. We see so many players playing amazing, let's say, in Davis Cup. For me, it's like, 'Okay, it's great that you can play like this, but why don't you try to play like this throughout the whole year,'" stated Medvedev, analysing his 'specialism.'

"Generally I love hard courts. Even if I know that I can play well enough on the grass and clay, on hard courts I feel the most fluid. On hard courts I can play not my best tennis but still win the matches. That's a big difference."

Over to the road to Roland-Garros, Medvedev can recall a 2021 quarter-final and 2022 fourth round in Paris and he's optimistic of performing well on the terre battue.

"I know that I can play well on clay. I actually beat Tsitsipas and Novak (Djokovic) at the same tournament once (Monte Carlo 2019), wow. That's pretty good achievement on clay," highlighted the world No.4. 

"Clay court is tougher for me. If I don't play my best tennis, I can lose much easier. So yeah, hopefully I can be at my best on clay court season."