Kvitova wins first title since knife attack

Petra Kvitova showed she will be a serious contender for a third Wimbledon title after beating Australian Ashleigh Barty 4-6 6-3 6-2 to win the Aegon Classic in Birmingham on Sunday in just her second tournament since returning from a knife attack injury.

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.

Kvitova, 16th in the world, is looking forward to facing the 21-year-old Barty, ranked No. 77 and advancing to the biggest final of her career.

Ashleigh Barty is coming off a three sets win over Garbine Muguruza that took 28 games to decide.

Serving for the set, the Czech suffered an attack of nerves as two double-faults enabled Barty to claw one break back, but that was not enough as Kvitova served out for the set at the second attempt.

That was all she could do, despite having a 4-0 lead in game 5 that could send her in front.

Should he win, the 26-year-old will play fellow Brit Liam Broady or Frank Dancevic, with No 9 seed Illya Marchenko a possible opponent in the third and final round.

By now Kvitova was striking her ground strokes harder, scoring brilliantly with her inside-out forehand, and she closed out the second set with two aces in three points.

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

"It was close", Kvitova said during her on-court interview.

Mladenovic, 24, has made major improvements since their Fed Cup encounter, winning her maiden WTA title at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy and reaching back-to-back finals at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix and the Madrid Open en route to a career-high ranking of No. 12.

But the two-time Wimbledon champion is now one win away from a maiden Birmingham title after Safarova pulled out with a thigh strain at 6-1 1-0 down. She worked her way to becoming a professional cricketer and did really well as she went on to play or the Brisbane Heat in the Women's Big Bash League.

"I think she played very well", Muguruza said of Barty in her post-match press conference. Of course I'm disappointed because I thought, you know, I could do the same as the previous matches and get a victory.

After an exchange of holds, the Aussie found a chance to recover in the fourth game, when a huge error from the net from Kvitova gave her a break point.

'I played unbelievably well. From my first hits on the grass I felt great, it was encouraging to get into the grass season.

  • Rosalie Stanley