Petra Kvitova makes first grass court final since 2014; to face Ashleigh Barty who upset Garbine Muguruza

Petra Kvitova, playing just her second tournament of the year, since recovering from a hand injury that kept her out of action for six months, booked her place in the final of AEGON Classic in Birmingham. She will face Ashleigh Barty in the final.

By: Express Web Desk | Published: June 24, 2017 8:50:32 pm
petra kvitova, aegon classic, wta tour, birmingham wta, lucie safarova, ashleigh barty, garbine mugurza, tennis news, sports news Petra Kvitova progressed to her first final on grass since 2014. (Source: AP)

Petra Kvitova has made her first final since being stabbed in her apartment in Czech Republic last year and her first final on grass since Wimbledon in 2014. The Czech player, who has won Wimbledon twice, returned to action only at French Open last month but lost in the second round. Playing her first tournament on grass, Kvitova led Lucie Safraova 6-1, 1-0 before her fellow Czech player retired hurt. She will face Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in the final who caused an upset by defeating Spain’s Garbine Muguruza. Barty stunned Muguruza 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the second semi-final on the day.

Kvitova is rebuilding her career ever since the knife attack in her apartment during an attempted robbery which forced her to undergo surgery on playing hand. Despite the early exit at Roland Garros, Kvitova has looked sharp on her favourite surface where she won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014.

“I couldn’t have imagined to have a better comeback than I am having now. Paris was a bit weird and strange, and I couldn’t play the best over there,” she said. “I am happy that I am able to show good tennis here. I played four matches already, so it’s a good record and good preparation for the final. The hand is good, which… I am not feeling any pain, and that’s the best news.”

The latter stages of the tournament have been hurt by players pulling out. Safarova did so in the semi-finals while CoCo Vandeweghe and Camila Giorgi pulled out in the quarterfinals.

Barty, ranked 77th in the world, is quite popular for having played tennis and giving up the sport for some time to play cricket and then returning. Her match against Muguruza turned when Barty broke at 2-2 in the second set after the Spaniard had looked comfortable.

“I didn’t really get a look in on her serve in the first set and once I knew I was in with a shot it was a little bit of a different story,” said Barty.

Muguruza saved two match points in the deciding set as she strived to keep the contest going but Barty used her slice game to optimum level and win the match. “For me it is important to use my slice on the grass and I love coming out here, slicing away and getting a bit of purchase on the ball and I was able to do that and it was really pleasing” she said.

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