Tennis: Kvitova as slick as the grass she likes

Kvitova suffered severe cuts to her hand during a robbery at her home in December. The injury sidelined her until her comeback at the French Open in May.
Kvitova suffered severe cuts to her hand during a robbery at her home in December. The injury sidelined her until her comeback at the French Open in May.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • 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.

The Czech, a Wimbledon winner in 2011 and 2014, suffered severe cuts to her hand during a robbery at her home in December. The injury sidelined her until her comeback at the French Open in May.

The 27-year-old not only looked untroubled by her hand this week but she also looked back to her best with her explosive serve often too much for Barty as she produced 13 aces.

She served out for the title in emphatic fashion - to love and ending with an ace - and celebrated in her typical understated style, with a broad smile.

Her last final on grass was her triumph at Wimbledon three years ago against Eugenie Bouchard. And while her talk on arrival at Edgbaston was purely about her delight to be playing again, she clearly has bigger goals now.

"I like to play finals on grass. 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 in her on-court interview after after landing her 20th career title. "It was an amazing week, an amazing tournament. From my first hits on the grass I felt great, it was encouraging to get into the grass season.

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  • Years between Petra Kvitova's titles won on grass.

"I came to play, to improve my game, I didn't really have any expectation. I wanted to play my best which I showed today and I hope I can keep doing that."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2017, with the headline 'Kvitova as slick as the grass she likes'. Print Edition | Subscribe