(Reuters) – Double Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova captured the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy on Sunday for her first title of the year, beating defending champion Kristina Mladenovic 6-1 6-2 in the final.
Kvitova, who entered the tournament as a wild card, was dominant in the opening exchanges and hit 16 winners in taking the first set.
The 27-year-old broke her French opponent’s serve twice more in the second set to seal the match in just over an hour.
“This was a special tournament for me,” Kvitova said in her on-court interview.
“All week, I played unbelievable matches and I really had to fight to make the final. It is not easy at the beginning of the year. I had to focus hard for the win.”
The Czech left-hander gave few opportunities on her serve to Mladenovic, firing nine aces and saving all three break points faced in front of a buoyant Sibur Arena crowd.
“Coming into this week, there was a lot of pressure and I don’t think many people expected me to show up in the finals,” the 24-year-old Mladenovic said in her runner-up speech.
“I fought very hard every single match to make it back here but Petra had an amazing week.”
The victory meant Kvitova maintained her streak of winning at least one WTA title since 2011 and now moves back up to world number 21, while German semi-finalist Julia Goerges will make her top-10 debut in Monday’s rankings.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Clare Fallon