Tennis: Kvitova off to fuss-free start in Birmingham but Konta made to work

Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova celebrating her victory over countryman Tereza Smitkova in the first round of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England on June 20, 2017.
Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova celebrating her victory over countryman Tereza Smitkova in the first round of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England on June 20, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova got her grass season off to a positive start with a 6-2, 6-3 win over compatriot Tereza Smitkova at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England on Tuesday.

Kvitova, Wimbledon winner in 2011 and 2014, is on the comeback trail after a lengthy absence following a knife attack at her home in the Czech Republic in December.

The 27-year-old's only appearance this year was at the French Open, where she lost in the second round but she is hoping to hit form before Wimbledon in July.

Kvitova took one hour and 23 minutes to beat 22-year-old Smitkova, who is ranked 167th in the world.

The Czech will face Naomi Brody in the next round after the Briton beat France's Alize Cornet.

Britain's world No. 7 Johanna Konta had to battle back from 2-5 down in the second set to beat Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko in her opening match.

Konta, runner-up at the Nottingham WTA event on Sunday, won the opening set 6-3 against world No. 34 Tsurenko but the Ukrainian fought back well.

The British hope for a first women's Wimbledon title since Virginia Wade in 1977 was a game away from losing the second set but broke back at 5-3 and took the tie-break 8-6.

Konta will face the winner of the all-American match between Coco Vandeweghe and Christina McHale.