Krejcikova Pulls Off Sweep At San Diego Open

Barbora Krejcikova (photo: Lexie Wanninger)

SAN DIEGO, September 17, 2023 (by Richard Osborn)

If Barbora Krejcikova was looking for more time on the tennis court; more opportunities to shake the late-summer doldrums that seemed to linger since her grass-court swing came to an end, she sure got her wish at the Cymbiotika San Diego Open.The 27-year-old from Brno, Czech Republic, powered her way into both the singles and doubles finals on Saturday at Barnes Tennis Center. She would capture the first, her seventh career singles title, via a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win over resurgent American Sofia Kenin. She would then join countrywoman Katerina Siniakova to take the second, a 6-1, 6-4 triumph over the American pairing of CoCo Vandeweghe and Danielle Collins.Krejcikova’s steely resolve is perhaps best encapsulated by the ninth game of the decisive third set against Kenin. Serving at 4-all, 15-40, the fourth seed would go on to save four break points for an all-important hold. She subsequently broke her opponent to seal the match in two hours and 28 minutes, finishing with 48 winners to 40 unforced errors, and 11 aces to five doubles faults.For her efforts, Krejcikova received not only the winner’s check and trophy but, as per the local tradition, a surfboard.

“I don’t know how I’m going to bring all these amazing trophies back home, because I already have three bags,” laughed Krejcikova, who is projected to return to the Top 10. “I think I’m only allowed to have three bags, so I don’t know what I’m going to do!”No one will ever question the runner-up Kenin’s passion for her livelihood.From the time, as a wide-eyed six-year-old, she followed Kim Clijsters around the grounds of the Miami Open, to the moment she raised the silvery Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup at the 2020 Australian Open, right up until today, she’s been a heart-on-her-sleeve competitor, often airing out her emotions — both the highs and the lows — as if each match, each point, is tantamount to life or death.So worked up was Kenin this week in San Diego that, following her gutsy three-set semifinal dismissal of compatriot Emma Navarro, she couldn’t speak: She’d completely lost her voice. But despite an impassioned effort on Day 6, the 24-year-old couldn’t close out her fellow wildcard in her first final in more than three years. Even in the losing effort, the player who last year dropped as low as No. 426 in the world will return to the Top 60.“Of course, I’m disappointed,” said Kenin. “But there are definitely a lot of positives. Last year, I played here and lost in the first round. Now I played in the final against a Top-10 player. She’s obviously a great player. I’ve shown that I can play, too. It was just a few points here and there that didn’t go my way. I’m going to take all the positives from this week.”   For Krejcikova, the proceedings summoned a flashback to Roland Garros in 2021, when she also swept the singles and doubles. The top-seeded Krejcikova/Siniakova duo is one of the most successful in the history of the game, having won seven major tournaments. They are only women’s doubles team to complete the career Super Slam: the calendar-year Grand Slam, the year-end WTA Finals, and the Olympic gold medal.“Doubles is definitely helping my singles,” said Krejcikova. “I get extra matches. I get to play more. It’s a lot of serving, a lot of returning, different tactics, different volleys, the crosscourt. You can play a lot of lobs as well. All this is also coming to my singles.”Vandeweghe, 31, was appearing in the last WTA match of her decade-and-a-half-long pro career. The Rancho Santa Fe resident reached the quarterfinals or better at the three of the four majors in singles, rising to a career-high No. 9 in 2018. In doubles, she captured the 2018 US Open title with Australia’s Ashleigh Barty. She also helped lead the U.S. to the Billie Jean King Cup crown in 2017, the nation’s first championship since 2000.