The world no. 8 and the 5th seed Petra Kvitova has won her 26th WTA title in Sydney from 33 finals played, prevailing against a home star Ashleigh Barty 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 in challenging two hours and 19 minutes for her first title here in four years. That grueling game took its toll, as Barty quickly broke an error-prone Kvitova back for 5-5.
Barty, ranked 15th in the world and a losing finalist in Sydney previous year, has a reputation for being a fighter and called on every last ounce of grit to force another early break and take a 3-0 lead at the start of the third.
Ashleigh Barty in action.
Regardless, it showed world number 15 Barty is ready to challenge anyone at next week's Australian Open.
Barty beat No. 1 Simona Halep, No.9 Kiki Bertens and No.12 Elise Mertens on her way to the final. They traded two more breaks in the last two games to reach the deciding tie break that the more experienced player grabbed 7-3 with a forehand cross court victor in that 10th point to lift the title and extend her winning streak in the WTA finals. But a seemingly tired Kvitova, bending over after almost every point at this juncture, handed another break back to Barty with consecutive double faults at the end of the game.
In turn, it also handed Barty her second straight runner-up finish in Sydney, after losing to Angelique Kerber in last year's final.
Kvitova apologised to Barty and the Sydney crowd for spoiling the Australian's Sydney party.
"It's wonderful - it truly has been a phenomenal week of tennis", Barty said.
"Not to win at home, I'm sorry", Kvitova said.
"You know, one day you're going to make it for sure".