Ash Barty loses dramatic Sydney International final to Czech player Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova prevailed over Australia’s Ash Barty in a three-set final of the Sydney International. (AP: David Moir)
Ashleigh Barty’s dreams of a maiden home title have been crushed by Petra Kvitova in the Sydney International, beaten in a three-set epic 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).
After Barty shot out of the blocks in the first set and led the deciding set 3-0, world number eight Kvitova fought back time and time again in the two hour, 19 minute classic while battling fatigue to claim her second Sydney crown.
Forced to serve to stay in the match at the end of the second set, Czech number five seed Kvitova fought back to break Barty for the first time to take the set and send it to a decider.
Both women broke each other three times in the third set, including back-to-back efforts from Barty as Kvitova served for the championship twice.
Kvitova’s experience finally paid off as she powered home in the tiebreaker to claim her 26th WTA tour victory.
In turn, it also handed Barty her second straight runner-up finish in Sydney, after losing to Angelique Kerber in last year’s final.
“I left everything out here and it wasn’t quite enough,” Barty said.
@SydneyTennis tweet: “Sorry I couldn’t get it done today but I left it all out there” – @ashbar96 ✌️ #SydneyTennis
Regardless, it showed world number 15 Barty is ready to challenge anyone at next week’s Australian Open.
She beat world number one Simona Halep, number nine Kiki Bertens and number 12 Elise Mertens on her way to the final.
Kvitova apologised to Barty and the Sydney crowd for spoiling the Australian’s Sydney party.
“Not to win at home, I’m sorry,” Kvitova said.
“You know, one day you’re going to make it for sure.”