PETRA Kvitova showed she will be a serious contender at Wimbledon after beating Australian Ashleigh Barty 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win the Aegon Classic in Birmingham yesterday, in just her second tournament since returning from a knife attack 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.
During her pre-match press conference, Kvitova said her hand is not causing her any pain at the moment and that is the best news for her at the moment.
But after losing her serve at the start of the second set, Safarova retired due to a thigh strain and exhaustion, having played two long matches in her previous three wins.
"I was just thinking about my game, and yeah, I'm sorry for her that she's unhealthy, but I hope she will be better soon", Kvitova said of Safarova.
She then decided to make her return to the tennis court 12 months ago at the 50k ITF tournament in Eastbourne where she managed to reach the semi-finals.
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 she has shown at Edgbaston that she is building up her form nicely before her return to Wimbledon, where she triumphed in 2011 and 2014. "I just believed that I could pull it out and win it", she added.
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The seventh seed will meet Ashleigh Barty on Sunday after she took the biggest scalp of her career in her semi-final.
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.
She rescued herself with two pieces of good luck. Kvitova said afterwards that she's tried to stay focused on the good throughout her recovery, and that she's feeling good.
Unranked this time last season, Barty has surged to a career-high provisional mark of No.53 - and will climb higher if she defeats dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the Birmingham final. So yeah, I think it's kind of a fairy tale. "I like getting purchase with my slice on the grass, and I didn't do much wrong".
Kvitova clung on and the match changed course.
On the other, we have Barty who's similar decision to recharge and the opportunity came up for her play cricket.