|Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic returns a backhand to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during their Madrid Open finals tennis match in Madrid, May 8, 2011. (REUTERS/Sergio Perez)
Petra Kvitova captured her third title of the year Sunday by pulling out a straight-sets victory against Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Madrid Open.
Kvitova, seeded 16th, recorded a 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 win in one hour, 42 minutes, and continues to rise in the women's tennis world. She won in Brisbane to start the year before reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, and beat Kim Clijsters for the Paris Indoors crown in February.
Sunday's victory gave Kvitova her first WTA title on clay, and the 21-year-old Czech will move into the top 10 for the first time next week. She is currently ranked 18th.
Kvitova, who is 4-1 all-time in WTA finals, grabbed the victory thanks to a strong return game. She won 70 percent (16-of-23) of points when pushing Azarenka to her second serve.
Azarenka, the fourth seed, was also trying for her third title of 2011, but couldn't beat Kvitova in key moments. She converted 3-of-9 break chances and was broken four times.
Azarenka fell to 7-7 in career WTA title matches, but will still move up one spot in the rankings, to No. 4, next week.
Sunday's meeting was the first of 2011 between the players, and fourth overall. Kvitova, who pocketed $920,000 for the victory, has won the last two matchups.