Barty and Kvitova reach Birmingham final
Originally published on 24/06/17 00:00
Barty scored the biggest win of her career with a surprise 3-6 6-4 6-3 success over former French Open champion, Garbine Muguruza, and Kvitova is into her first grass-court final in three years after her semi-final opponent, Lucie Safarova, retired after just eight games.
In the first match of the day on Centre Court, the all-Czech affair between Fed Cup teammates Kvitova and Safarova ended in disappointing circumstances.
It had been a taxing route through to the last four for Safarova – whose quarter-final match with Daria Gavrilova took three hours to complete – and a thigh strain put an end to her hopes of winning an 8th career title.
Kvitova won seven of the eight games played before Safarova called it quits. The two-time Wimbledon champion, in just her second tournament back after being stabbed in the hand last December, was in excellent form before the contest was halted.
After her win, the 27-year-old said: "I’m sorry for her [Safarova] that she's unhealthy, and I hope she will be better soon. I'm happy that I'm in the final, but the way I am going in is a bit weird. The hand is good, which is the best news which I can have, and I am not feeling any pain.
“I am happy that I am able to show good tennis here. I played four matches already, so it's a good record and good preparation for the final.”
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The second semi-final between Barty and Muguruza was an entertaining duel. The Spaniard made a bright start and she dropped just five points behind her serve as she comfortably claimed the opener by six games to three.
The Australian had never defeated a top 20 player however she stuck to her task and began to reduce the deficit. Barty upped the pace on her forehand and her wicked backhand slice inflicted significant damage as she restored parity on the scoreboard.
Barty maintained her high level of play in the decider and she stormed into a 5-1 lead. Muguruza continued to scrap and she won a couple more games before the unassuming Australian fired a backhand winner down the line to reach her first grass-court final.
“It’s really cool to be in the final.” said Barty. "It was nice to come out here and execute what we wanted to do – and to come away with the win is a bonus. For me it’s important to use my slice on the grass. I love coming out here and slicing away and getting purchase off the court, so today which was really pleasing.”
In the first semi-final at the Mallorca Open, Julia Görges defeated Catherine Bellis 6-1 6-1 in just 59 minutes. The German will play Anastasija Sevastova, who defeated Caroline Garcia 6-4 6-2.
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