SAINT PETERSBURG — Double Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova captured the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy 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.

The victory meant Kvitova maintained her streak of winning at least one WTA title since 2011 and now moves back up to world No. 21.

Babos bags WTA singles title

Hungary’s Timea Babos triumphed over Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine to win the Taiwan Open Sunday, her second title of 2018 after claiming the doubles trophy in Melbourne last month.

The Hungarian fourth seed carried over the momentum from the Australian Open to win in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1.

It was her third WTA singles title after winning the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey in 2012 and the Hungarian Ladies Open in Budapest last year.

Kozlova was making her debut at a WTA final. She stayed close in the first set but conceded an easy victory in the second.

The Ukrainian, ranked 85th in the world, had beaten Babos in their last encounter at the 2015 Qatar Total Open in Doha.

She had earlier knocked out fifth seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan and former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki of Germany in the semifinal before facing Babos.