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Petra Kvitova qualifies for her first final since horrific knife attack

Petra Kvitova qualifies for her first final since horrific knife attack”

Kvitova, playing in just her second tournament of the year, was 6-1 1-0 up at the Edgbaston Priory Club when her compatriot pulled out.

First, Mladenovic double-faulted going for 4-1 in the tiebreak, and when she was serving at match point down at 5-6, Kvitova's widish-looking service return took a net cord, lurched into court, and fell dead.

In the final, the Czech leftie will play Ashleigh Barty, an Australian who was impressive in containing former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Petra Kvitova has played down the prospect of achieving one of sport's great comeback stories, despite being made joint-favourite for Wimbledon after reaching the final of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham. The best news I can have, I am not in pain'.

"It's nice to be able to string a few matches together and be playing reasonably well and be confident out on court coming into Wimbledon", she added. But she remained reluctant to agree that she was now one of the players who could win Wimbledon.

'I couldn't have imagined a better comeback than I've had, what happened to me was very weird.

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.

"It's incredible how she's coming back, and after what happened, how quickly she was able to return to play competition", said Safarova.

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Petra Kvitova has qualified for her first final since her career-threatening stabbing.

Barty was ranked at 271 at the start of the year, won her first career title in March in Kuala Lumpur, and has become the first Aussie finalist here in 25 years.

"I couldn't play for five or six months and I missed it".

She sliced the ball hard, kept it wide and low, and denied Muguruza chances to develop pace and rhythm with her elegant groundstrokes.

Muguruza called for her coach, sought to swing the ball around, and eventually just tried to scrap as best she could.

Kvitova, who suffered tendon damage when an intruder broke into her house posing as a gas man, raced into a 5-0 lead within 18 minutes and took the first set 6-1 with an 108mph service victor.

"I came here early and I have put in the hours, and I feel I'm doing something good because I am winning", she said.



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