Petra Kvitova in only her second tournament since returning from her horrific stabbing injury, won the Aegon Classic at the Edgbaston Priory Club on Sunday afternoon. The Czech who is a former two-time Wimbledon champion beat Australian, Ashleigh Barty, in a thrilling game of tennis by two sets to one.
Kvitova who was heavily favoured heading into the encounter due to her superior record on grass struggled early on, as her Australian counterpart, buoyed by reaching only her second WTA singles final, made the better start. She broke the Czech in only the third game and held her nerve from there on, including saving two break points, to win the first set 6-4.
The second set was a far different affair. Kvitova who looked to be struggling early in the match, sprung into a 3-0 lead. She broke Barty again later on in the set and despite a fightback from the Australian, who managed to break back, it was Kvitova who won the set 6-3.
You could sense that the tide was turning, as Kvitova broke again in the first game of the deciding set. She may have thought she had the game won there and then, but the Australian who has excelled when on the back foot this week managed to get a break of her own and levelled the set at 2-2 when Kvitova went long. However, she was not back in the tie for long as Kvitova showed all her experience to come back from 40-0 down to win the following game. She then held her nerve and with a final flourish, winning the tournament with an ace, the final score was 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Following her victory the Czech told us ‘In the first set I did so many unforced errors which I tried to reduce in the second and third one’. In terms of Wimbledon preparation, Kvitova described how ‘losing the first set, and then winning the second and third will give me extra confidence, having to fight’.
Read below for all the action from yesterday’s Semi-Finals:
Semi Final One – Kvitova vs Safarova
Petra Kvitova’s excellent tournament continued with a dominant performance over Lucie Safarova in the day’s opening semi-final. The Czech who entered the tournament as a wildcard, has reached her first final on grass since her Wimbledon triumph back in 2014 and will take some stopping in tomorrow’s final. For Safarova it just didn’t go to plan, she was dominated 6-1 in the opening set, before having to retire early in the second due to injury, when she was 1-0 down.
Kvitova’s week where she had yet to drop a set continued. Her serve continues to impress, with 5 aces and the signs of her form were ominous when she won her opening service game to love in quick time, and then used her power game to attack Safarova anytime she was on second serve. She broke twice in the opening set to eventually win 6-1.
She was on her way in the second by breaking Safarova again in the opening service game. However much to the shock of those in the crowd, that was it as Safarova retired. Perhaps to do with her mammoth 3 hour quarter- final yesterday.
Semi Final Two – Barty vs Muguruza
Ashleigh Barty produced a stunning fightback to reach her first final in Birmingham during the second semi-final on Saturday. The Australian who is in the main draw for the first time struggled for any real consistency early in preceding’s, but a break of serve at 2-2 in the second set was crucial and from there she never really looked back.
After a tight start, it was the Spaniard Muguruza who gained the first advantage with a break in the seventh game. The number six seed went on to win the opening set 6-3 and looked in control.
Much like the first set, the early exchanges of the second were a tight affair, however this time it was the Australian who took the initiative breaking her opponent in the fifth game and it turned out to be a huge turning point. She went on to win the set 6-4 and then went about dismantling her opponent in the final set.
The Australian through a series of forehand winners, raced into a 5-1 lead and despite a wobble on match point, she eventually got the job done to reach the final against Petra Kvitova tomorrow.