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Kvitova reaches 1st final since attack

Kvitova reaches 1st final since attack

The Queenslander charged past French Open victor Garbine Muguruza 3-6 6-4 6-3 to advance to the Birmingham Classic final, claiming her first top-20 triumph in the process.

Kvitova showed she will be a serious contender for a third Wimbledon title after beating Barty 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in just her second tournament since returning from a knife attack injury.

Kvitova next plays her longstanding friend Lucie Safarova, a fellow Czech who saved match points for the second time this week while surviving 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) in three hours against Daria Gavrilova. It also marked the first title for Kvitova since winning Wimbledon in 2014.

On a good day for former Wimbledon champions - Roger Federer thrashed Alexander Zverev to take the Halle Open for the ninth time - Kvitova displayed the same mental toughness which has helped her physical recovery.

Her punchy and tenacious approach was effective again, as she lost one point in her first four service games and took the first set with some comfort.

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. Barty described her final against Kvitova as a big challenge but said it would be good for her.

"I know what it feels like to retire", the sixth-seeded Muguruza said during her on-court interview after getting the 4-6, 6-4, retired win.

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.

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"I'm obviously I'm in a very different place".

"I like to play finals on grass".

"The hand is good which is the best news I could have, and I am not feeling any pain - and that's the best news", she repeated. I'm happy how I managed to win it, but it was really tight.

'I played unbelievably well.

"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. "I mean not just from my perspective, but I think from everyone, I think it's unbelievable to have her back on the tour, and to be successful straightaway is just phenomenal". "She's making the game, changing direction a lot, slice, some volleys, drop shots".

Barty, meanwhile, delivered the biggest scalp of her career after coming from behind to defeat Muguruza. Broady commented on her speed not just laterally but up to short balls which she then just nails.

Kvitova and Barty are scheduled on Centre Court, at 1:30pm BST.
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