July 26, 2017

Kvitova enters Birmingham final, to face Barty

26 June 2017, 01:30 | Simon Arnold

Kvitova enters Birmingham final, to face Barty

Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova returns a ball to France's Kristina Mladenovic on day five of the Birmingham Classic tennis tournament at Edgbaston Priory Birmingham England Friday June 23

At Aegon Classic, only the second tournament after her return to competition, she proved that she's not only back in action, but also back in winning, dropping only one set in the entire tournament and defeating an in-form Ashleigh Barty to win her first title in Birmingham.

In doing so, the Czech has triumphed in only her second tournament back after she suffered a vicious knife attack in December which left her with a badly wounded hand.

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.

Kvitova won Wimbledon in 2011 and again in 2014 and she is clearly buzzing with anticipation for the return to the All England Club which she has called her "home".

But Kvitova broke again in the opening game of the second set, before Safarova decided she could not continue.

Petra Kvitova took a big step forwards to convincing herself that she can make a full recovery when she reached the final of the Aegon Classic by outplaying her exhausted friend and Czech compatriot Lucie Safarova. "I wish I could have more - I won't be sad if it is in a couple of weeks (at Wimbledon) but there is still a lot of work to be done", she said.

But a fired-up Kvitova responded immediately as she blasted back from 40-0 down to reel off a series of winners and once again take control of the set.

Barty was ranked at 271 at the start of the year.

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"Obviously it's a big challenge for me tomorrow".

"I am happy that I am in the final, but the way I am going is a bit weird. Paris was a bit weird and odd, and I couldn't play the best over there", she said.

From the start Kvitova's serving was nearly always rock solid, finding the lines and the angles but with Safarova struggling to push off a heavily strapped leg there would have always been one victor.

On the other, we have Barty who's similar decision to recharge and the opportunity came up for her play cricket. "I am happy that I am able to show good tennis here".

She sealed victory by winning 17 of the final 18 points. "I mean not just from my perspective, but I think from everyone, I think it's wonderful to have her back on the tour, and to be successful straightaway is just phenomenal".

It's pretty remarkable how well Kvitova's recovered, and how she's managed to keep her focus so positive despite the very bad injury she suffered.

The left-hander, who has dropped to 16th in the world rankings, served an ace to clinch her 20th tour title. "She's just super talented". "It's very frustrating because she was playing a great match". I played four matches already, so it's a good record and good preparation for the final.

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