Siniakova overtakes Rybakina in Portoroz to claim third career singles title

Katerina Siniakova prevailed in one of the longest finals of the year to take the title from Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz on Sunday. She defeated reigning Wimbledon champion and No. 3 seed Elena Rybakina 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-4.

It took Siniakova of the Czech Republic 3 hours and 6 minutes to squeak past Rybakina of Kazakhstan, fighting back after a set and a collapse to claim her third singles title of her career.

It is Siniakova’s first singles title in five years. She won her last two singles crowns in 2017 in Shenzhen and Bastad.

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The duel was the second longest final of the 2022 season so far, only behind Angelique Kerbers 3 hours and 16 minutes, 7-6(5), 6-7(0), 7-6(5) victory over Kaja Juvan in the Strasbourg final in May.

As usual, it was an outstanding year for Siniakova in doubles. Siniakova regained the world No. 1 ranking just this week after she and Barbora Krejcikova completed the Career Golden Slam at the US Open. The pair are perfect 18-0 in Grand Slam events this year and have also won the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

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But now Siniakova’s singles title win is growing too with Sunday’s comeback win over Rybakina. Siniakova converted five of her nine break points during the encounter, fending off 43 winners against Rybakina to triumph.

Rybakina went into the match with a 4-2 head-to-head lead over Siniakova, but despite her massive winning tally, this year’s Wimbledon champion was wiped out by 66 unforced errors as she failed to finish the match in two tiebreak sets .

The title caps a grueling weekend for Siniakova, who won both their quarterfinal and semifinal match on Saturday After rain delays, their quarterfinals had to be postponed by one day.

Rybakina took an early 5-0 lead, but there were already signs that Siniakova was ready to fight as she pulled the opener into a tiebreak. However, a litany of winners allowed Rybakina to grab four of the breaker’s last five points in the opener.

Siniakova fell 4-3 after a break in the second set, but the Czech immediately backed out and pulled the set into a tiebreak again. This time it was Siniakova who fought for the early lead and she converted her third set point, forcing a wide Rybakina to return to level.

In the deciding set, Rybakina was able to equalize an early break by Siniakova, but the Czech put the lead back 5:4 with another break. Serving for the match, Siniakova earned her first championship point after a wide Rybakina forehand and prevailed at the end of a rally to take home the title.

The individual final ended a busy Sunday in Portoroz. First, Marta Kostyuk and Tereza Martincova won the doubles final 6-4, 6-0 against Cristina Bucsa and Tereza Mihalikova.

Playing only their second event together after meeting for the first time at Wimbledon this summer, Kostyuk and Martincova took just 66 minutes to lift the doubles trophy. It is the first WTA doubles title for both Kostyuk and Martincova.

After the doubles championship, the former number 1 of the WTA doubles world championship Katarina Srebotnik was honored in court with an emotional farewell ceremony in her home country.

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