Kvitova reaches first final since attack

Posted June 26, 2017

Petra Kvitova, playing just her fifth match since returning from a stabbing six months ago, beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 7-6 (5) to reach the semifinals of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England.

This was only the second tournament for Petra after that horrific accident she experienced back in December when the attacker injured her hand, but luckily it seems that everything is alright and that she is going to be among the favorites in the upcoming Wimbledon.

"It was just nice to get a couple of good matches and it's nice to be able to come up against top players leading into a slam (Wimbledon) and try and test myself against the world's best", Barty said. "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.

The left-hander, who has dropped to 16th in the world rankings, served an ace to clinch her 20th tour title. But Barty gained adrenaline and self-belief from her second set success, and five games in a row from 0-1 in the final set effectively decided the outcome.

Two-time Wimbledon victor Kvitova was stabbed in the Czech Republic in December and could have lost her career, escaping instead with hand injuries.

Nevertheless, Petra was focused in game 9, bringing the set home with a comfortable hold, forcing the decider with the momentum on her side.

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.

Then we had people dropping like flies during the tournament with two quarter-finals cut short on Friday as first Coco Vandeweghe and then Camila Giorgi pulled up short in their matches.

Muguruza saved two match points in the final set as she battled hard but after recovering from her first set reverse, the Australian, who has also played national level cricket in her homeland, looked in command by making great use of the slice. She backed it up with a well-played game on return, in which two aggressive returns gave her a break point first and the break right away.

ASHLEIGH Barty will ride a huge wave of confidence on Sunday night (AEST) when she attempts to land her second clean sweep of an increasingly memorable comeback. So yeah, I think it's kind of a fairy tale.

"I'm very, very happy, of course", she said in her post-match press conference. "I played four matches already, so it's a good record and good preparation for the final".

It is only Kvitova's second tournament since the seven-month hole which was torn from her career, and this was only her sixth match, yet she has reached her first grass court final since her 2014 Wimbledon triumph. I wish I could have more.