Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Petra Kvitova sends Wimbledon warning with Birmingham title

Petra Kvitova sends Wimbledon warning with Birmingham title

Petra Kvitova's comeback from a lengthy injury layoff gathered further momentum on Saturday as she reached the Aegon Classic final in Birmingham after Lucie Safarova retired from their semi-final with a leg injury.

Building on her advantage, Kvitova followed up with a second break before serving out strongly with an ace to seal her remarkable comeback success.

This time, Kvitova stayed solid, and helped by two aces - the second one of set point - she took the set with a 6-3 score and forced the match into a decider.

Barty won the Wimbledon girls title six years ago and proved a revelation in the way she used slice to blunt her famous opponent's attack before counter-attacking with heavy forehand drives. Until the last game of the set, Barty dropped only two points on her serve, while a consistent game on return earned her the chance to take the lead.

She returned at last month's French Open, where she lost in the second round.

This is just her second tournament since her return and she can now crown it with a trophy after Safarova withdrew, with Kvitova leading 6-1 1-0. She's won Wimbledon a couple of times and is awesome on grass court as well.

The match turned when Barty broke at 2-2 in the second set after Muguruza had looked comfortable.

Petra Kvitova, the two-time Wimbledon champion who is making a courageous comeback from injury, will face unseeded giant-killer Ashleigh Barty in the final of the Birmingham grass court tournament.

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From 5-1, 30-0 up, the games seemed to be done for Kvitova; however, the Czech seemed to lose her rhythm all of a sudden, hitting two double-faults to go 30-all, and then two more errors to let Barty recover from one of the breaks.

Kvitova will play Ashleigh Barty on Sunday following the Australian's impressive 3-6 6-4 6-3 win over Garbine Muguruza, the sixth-seeded Spaniard. She underwent almost four hours of surgery on her left hand and forearm, and her left hand is still not fully recovered.

"I think she played very well", Muguruza said of Barty in her post-match press conference.

But she too double-faulted, repairing some of the damage with a brilliant passing shot which saved match point on Kvitova's serve at 6-4.

Coming into the tournament as the seventh seed, Kvitova was regarded as a dark horse for the tournament and she will now head into Wimbledon brimming with confidence as a result of her 20th WTA Tour title.

"The hand is good, which is the best news I could have", she said.

'I played unbelievably well. "She was very smart with the slice, which I think is a hard shot on the grass".

Vandeweghe injured a foot in her opening match which, she said, contributed to her tumble in the second set.

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