Petra Kvitova is back and the tennis world will be delighted at the Czech’s speed of recovery following that horrendous knife attack last December which nearly brought her career to an end.
I’m very, very happy, of course. I didn’t expect this in my second tournament after my comeback. So yeah, I think it’s kind of a fairytale Petra Kvitova
Playing in just her second tournament since that incident – her first being a tentative outing at the French Open – Kvitova has romped through to win the Aegon Classic in Birmingham where she defeated the unseeded Ashleigh Barty 4-6 6-3 6-2 to land her 20th career title.
The 27-year-old, the holder of two Wimbledon titles, looked happy to be playing on grass and never looked to be troubled by her hand which she did admit in Paris, still required to improve in strength.
In the final, she showed all her usual aggression especially with her explosive serves to recover from the loss of the first set and power her way past the Australian.
She struck 13 aces, her last on match point to close it out in emphatic manner.
“I’m very, very happy, of course. I didn’t expect this in my second tournament after my comeback. So yeah, I think it’s kind of a fairytale,” a beaming Kvitova said.
“I think I’ve been through a very difficult time in my life, and it wasn’t about the tennis, but about coming back healthy and alive and move my fingers properly and everything like that. And this is something clearly special.
“It’s some bonus to have my life and my career and everything. That’s why I fight that hard to come back to play tennis. And I always said that I’m not here just to play tennis. I’m here to play my best and to win trophies, like today. So I have to say I’m kind of proud of myself that I did it today.
“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. From my first hits on the grass I felt great, it was encouraging to get into the grass season.”
Even the defeated Barty full of admiration for her opponent. “It’s so amazing to have Petra back on the court. She’s such an inspiration,” said the Australian.
“She’s always been a great champion but I think we appreciate that more now that she’s back playing week in and week out.”
Meanwhile at the Mallorca Open, a year after finishing runner-up at the inaugural event, Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova went one better in Spain, surviving three tough sets against Julia Goerges to win her first WTA title in seven years, 6-4 3-6 6-3 after two-hours and 14-minutes.
Sevastova’s first title came all the way back in 2010, when she won in Estoril a month after her 20th birthday. Three years later, she left the sport citing persistent injuries and illnesses only to make a comeback in 2015.
“It’s my second final here. I won, but it was a tough match. I hope the tournament will be back here next year,” Sevastova said.