Birmingham: Petra shows quality to sail past Smitkova

21.06.2017 – Birmingham

No.7 seed Petra Kvitova enjoyed a smooth passage into the second round of the Aegon Classic with a 6-2, 6-3 win over compatriot Tereza Smitkova. The World No.167 had only snuck into the main draw as a Lucky Loser, having lost in three sets to another Czech player, Marketa Vondrousova, in the final round of qualifying. However, Smitkova has shown her class on grass in the past, most notably in reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon as a qualifier in 2014. In fact, it was the 22-year-old who garnered the first break point chance of the match – though it was swiftly saved by Kvitova with a clever dropshot.

Smitkova showcased a solid power game in the first set, but her opponent is one of the WTA Tour’s elite exponents of that style. The 27-year-old is playing just her second tournament of 2017 – and revealed at Roland Garros that she still has no sensation in two of the fingers of her left hand following injuries incurred in a December home invasion. Nonetheless, her serve and forehand – the bedrocks of her game – were in fine fettle as she landed 73% of her first serves in the opener, and won 77% of those points.

The 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion moved through the gears in the second set, displaying a greater variety of angles to go with her power than Smitkova as she calmly sped out to a 3-1 lead. If anything, Kvitova’s serve was clicking even more as she racked up six aces to go with a host of unreturnable deliveries, too: as in the first set, she faced just one break point, this time saving it with a forehand down the line.

Smitkova had also lost to her senior compatriot in her only WTA Tour quarterfinal, in Shenzhen in 2015. Though she battled hard in today’s closing stages, saving three match points as she served to stay in the match, she found no answer to on return in the next game as Kvitova booked a second-round meeting with local wildcard Naomi Broady.

WTATennis.com

Petra returns to the Connecticut Open this summer

Three-time New Haven champion Petra Kvitova will return to the Connecticut Open this summer as she continues her comeback from career-threatening injury, the tournament announced today.

“I’m so excited to be heading back to the Connecticut Open this summer,” Kvitova said. “Now that I’ve been given the green light by my doctor I can finally plan my schedule so it’s great to start by confirming one of my favorite tournaments of the year.

“I always look forward to being back in New Haven but it will be extra special this year after all the support I have received from the amazing fans there.”

The Czech lifted the New Haven title in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and holds an impressive 19-3 win-loss record there.

The two-time Wimbledon champion is officially back in action after an emotional return at Roland Garros last week. Kvitova suffered severe lacerations to her left hand after an attack by a home intruder in December 2016, a potentially career-threatening injury. But the Czech World No.16 has defied medical odds by coming back to tennis a month earlier than predicted and beat American Julia Boserup 6-3 6-2 in the first match at Roland Garros.

Now back to full health, Kvitova is set to continue her comeback at the Connecticut Open, the first WTA tournament to secure her signature.

“Petra has shown immense courage and determination to get back on the court and her story has captured the hearts of the global tennis family but also those outside tennis,” said Anne Worcester, Connecticut Open tournament director.

“Everyone here at the Connecticut Open is delighted to have Petra coming back this summer and to be the first tournament in line means a great deal to us. I know our fans will be more eager than ever to see this inspirational champion in action and her addition to the field makes our celebration of 20 years of women’s tennis in New Haven even more special.”

Source: WTATennis.com

RG: Mattek-Sands edges Petra

Qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands recorded her best Grand Slam result in nearly two years on Wednesday, as she ousted No.15 seed Petra Kvitova in the second round of the French Open in a pair of tiebreaks, 7-6(5), 7-6(5).

The American reached the third round at three of the four Grand Slams in 2015, but hadn’t won a main draw match in the last five majors.

Wearing a shirt covered in cherries, Mattek-Sands’ powerful approach bore fruit, as she struck 30 winners in two sets and found herself successful on nearly 70 percent of her forays to net.

“I saw Petra before the tournament started. I gave her a big hug,” Mattek-Sands said. “I was really happy to see her back, especially after everything that had happened. You know, she’s an inspiration. That’s what I told her end of the match, too. She not only came back from all of that, she came back playing well.

“We had a great match today. It’s really good to see her back and playing well. She’s a great champion, so it’s a really good win for me.”

Facing a point for 2-5 down in the first set, Mattek-Sands forced a tiebreak, and then also rallied from 2-4 down at the change of ends to seal the opening by winning five of the last six points. In the second set, the American broke in the opening game, but later repeated the feat of escaping a deficit in a tiebreak to see herself to victory.

“I have to say that I’m kind of surprised how I played, even [though] I lost,” Kvitova said. “I think it was good fight, and I think in the tiebreak showed that I don’t really have matches under my belt.”

In a blistering opening set by both players, Mattek-Sands hit 16 winners to just four unforced errors, while Kvitova also powered to a ratio of 17 winners to 11 unforced. After losing serve in the fifth game and trailing 2-4, the American saved a trio of break points on serve in the seventh game, and used the momentum as a springboard to breaking Kvitova after the changeover.

Neither player faced a break point from there as the set headed to a tiebreak, in which the Czech held leads of 3-0 and 4-2. However, aggressive play from Mattek-Sands saw a three-point swing go her way, and she rifled a backhand return winner to set up set point en route to pocketing the first.

“I play aggressive. I was really going for my serve,” Mattek-Sands said, assessing her tactics in the victory. “I know when she’s feeling great she’s hitting her returns clean, and, you know, she did that for a couple games in both sets. You know, she was hitting some clean winners off some good serves. That’s kind of the Petra we know and love.

“I just stuck with my game, played aggressive, came to net when I wanted to, mixed up a few dropshots here and there. To me that’s kind of fun tennis, creative tennis, and that’s how I like playing. I really enjoyed myself out
there.”

Mattek-Sands’ momentum continued to begin the second set, as she built a 3-1 lead and held a pair of break points to stretch her advantage to 4-1. However, Kvitova displayed some spirited resistance to get the set back on serve and earn herself three break points in a pivotal eighth game to hold for 4-4.

Nonetheless, Mattek-Sands stayed on serve, twice serving to stay in the set, from there, and twice Kvitova held leads in the second set tiebreak. In her second match since November, however, the Czech was upended by the
bettle-tested Mattek-Sands, who was contesting her fifth singles match of the fortnight thus far.

“I didn’t really have expectations here. Just came to, you know, open my comeback, kind of,” Kvitova said. “The mission is completed, which I’m very happy for that, and I’m happy that this all ended. The atmosphere on Court 1 was incredible today, I have to say, even for Beth. It was really amazing. I mean, it was full and they were cheering loudly. So made me happy, as well. It was nice hearing my name through the crowd.”

RG: Emotional win for Petra on return

Barely five months after the attack which threatened her career, Petra Kvitova’s first match back was a triumph on every level.

On a normal day, a 6-3, 6-2 first round win by a two-time Wimbledon champion and current world No.16 over a player ranked 70 places lower would generate little comment; and nor, when the higher-ranked player triumphed, would that person usually drop their racket in disbelief, tears in their eyes on and on their cheeks, while the crowd rose in acclaim. Petra Kvitova’s opening day triumph on Court Philippe-Chatrier was the exception. In circumstances that were anything but routine, she produced a victory over not just her opponent Julia Boserup but very much more.

It is barely five months since the Czech suffered career-threatening injuries to her playing hand when an intruder at her Prostejov apartment attacked her with a knife. Just last Friday she confirmed that Roland-Garros 2017 would see her restored to competition, and at 11.09am on humid Parisian morning, she struck her first ball in anger since she and her compatriots lifted the Fed Cup last November.

The word “courage” is frequently bandied about idly in the sporting context, when what is actually meant is mere resourcefulness, or ingenuity. This was one of the rare occasions when it was not only reasonable, but essential to apply it. Plenty of knowledgeable onlookers feared Kvitova would be either unable to complete a full match here, or that the result might have embarrassed her. Boserup, they worried, would occupy the unenviable role of The One To Defeat Our Beloved Heroine on her return, unforgiven for exercising the essential unsentimental competitive desire to defeat your opponent no matter what the circumstances.

These knowledgeable onlookers were obliged to dine on their own words, and did so gladly, finding it a most delicious repast. Kvitova was 3-0 up in eight minutes, with winners pouring from her racquet. But Boserup’s ranking has climbed steadily this year, boosted by an Australian Open win over Francesca Schiavone no less – champion here, of course, in 2010. She tested Kvitova sufficiently that ultimately the No.15 seed required 41 minutes to close out that first set. After that Boserup found the second far tougher, and Kvitova’s winner count reached 31 by the time the job was done.

“This match was special to me,” she acknowledged afterwards. “It wasn’t really about the game today. I’ve said before that I’ve already won the biggest fight, and now I won for the second time. It was such a heart-warming welcome on Chatrier, and everyone who helped me through the difficult time was there, including my family. Yesterday I was wondering what it would be like, and I couldn’t imagine it. I thought I might cry when I stepped on court, which I didn’t do. But at the end I didn’t have to control my emotions any more, so a few tears.

“I had no pain in my hand – it felt a little weird after the rain [a five-minute delay near the start of the second set], but that went after one point. I promised my doctor, who gave me the green light to play here, that if I feel pain in my hand at any time I will stop. It’s a little tricky sometimes – couple of times I didn’t feel the racquet that strongly in my hand. But starting the match with a forehand winner was amazing. I feel great.”

Read more at  www.rolandgarros.com

The Q&A with Petra

Favourite ice cream flavour?

Pistachio or strawberry. But pistachio wins 🙂

Favourite language other than Czech or English?

Hmmm I learnt Russian at school but don’t really remember it now. I love the sound of Spanish and Italian

What do you do for entertainment on a long-haul flight? Books? Movies? Music?

I try to sleep as much as I can, especially if I need to get on a different timezone and cope with jet lag. Otherwise, all of the above, books, movies and music!

What do you order in a sushi restaurant?

I order the dragon roll for sure with eel sauce, the eel makes it a perfect combination.

Favourite nail colour

Pink, but it has to be a dark pink like almost red. I can’t wait to get a manicure again on my left hand!

Favourite thing to do with your nieces and nephew

I love to wrestle with them and tickle them! Sometimes I am too strong for them but they are still laughing, haha.

First Czech thing you want to eat/drink when you get back to the Czech Republic from a tournament.

There’s a typical Czech dumpling called svickova, with meat and sauce. But it’s not that healthy so I don’t really eat it too much!

Best player lounge on Tour

Hmm, it’s not a typical player lounge, but the members’ dressing-room upstairs at Wimbledon is my favourite place to hang out at a tournament – it is so calm and peaceful in there and the ladies are looking after us so well.

Which player is the loudest in the locker room?

JJ! Of course!

Favourite snack when you go to the movies?

Popcorn!

Which player makes you laugh the most?

It has to be my best friend Lucie (Hradecka)

Night owl or early riser? (do you stay up late or get up early?)

Definitely early riser

Summer or winter?

Definitely summer!

Ice hockey or football?

I like both but I will say ice hockey

Best present you ever got from a fan

The Chinese fans always give the best presents – I love the Pojd Petra t-shirts and caps they gave me over there.

 

Photo credit: Lucie Robinson for magazine Marianne.

Petra injured in knife attack

21 December, 2016 | 13:00 CET

UPDATE: Petra could be back on a tennis court in six months, her surgeon said on Wednesday.

“Surgeon Radek Kebrle said that the operation on Petra’s left hand went very well, with no complications,” Kvitova’s publicist said in a statement.

“Petra will be on bed rest for 14 days, she will begin slow rehabilitation at around 6-8 weeks post operation. If that rehabilitation process goes well, Petra should be able to grip a racket for the first time (but not play tennis) at three months. The best-case scenario is that Petra will be able to return to the tennis court after six months.

“It is too soon to specify when precisely she can return to competition, but Petra is ready to do everything she can to get back competing at the highest level. Petra is happy with how the operation went and is in good spirits.”

______________________________

20 December, 2016 | 21:00 CET

UPDATE: Petra is out of surgery, and her left hand will be in a cast for at least three months:

Petra has undergone surgery for 3 hours and 45 minutes. Considering the extent of the damage, the surgery went very well. Doctors repaired damage to tendons in all five digits of the left hand as well as two nerves. Petra will wear a cast on her hand for 6-8 weeks and will be unable to bear weight for 3 months. We hope to have more information for you tomorrow.

Petra to make Volvo Car Open debut

DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. – Petra Kvitova will make her Charleston, South Carolina tennis debut at the 2017 Volvo Car Open, April 1st – 9th on Daniel Island. Kvitova is a two-time Wimbledon champion and currently ranked World No. 11. She ended the 2016 season in impressive fashion, picking up titles at Wuhan and Zhuhai, as well as helping the Czech Republic to a historic fifth Fed Cup trophy in six years.

In addition to Kvitova, the player field forming for the 45th year of the WTA premier tournament includes:

  • Former World No. 1’s Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki
  • World No. 8 Madison Keys
  • World No. 10 Johanna Konta
  • 2016 Volvo Car Open Champion Sloane Stephens
  • Olympic Gold Medalists Monica Puig and Elena Vesnina

“We have been pursuing Petra to enter Charleston for more than four years,” said Eleanor Adams, Tournament Manager.  “To say we are excited is an understatement! Petra’s left-handed game and serve are perfectly suited for our courts. The fans will be amazed by her talent, fierceness and gracious personality – we can hardly wait!”

This season celebrates Kvitova’s sixth straight top 15 finish. In addition to her two titles in 2016, she captured a bronze medal in the Rio Olympics, was a finalist in Luxembourg, made the semifinals in New Haven and Stuttgart and made the quarterfinals in Indian Wells and Beijing.

“I’m very excited to play in the Volvo Car Open for the first time,” said Kvitova.  “I’ve heard what a wonderful city Charleston is and the Volvo Car Open is a great tournament, so of course I’m looking forward to April”.

The nine-day Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America, attracting an average of 90,000 attendees and 70+ of the top tennis players.

Tickets for the 2017 Volvo Car Open are now on sale. Patrons have the option to choose from individual tickets, ticket packages and travel packages. Ticket prices range from $25 for an individual session to $525 for the all-inclusive weeklong package. The Volvo Car Open will provide six special ticket packages in 2017, each offering more tennis at a greater value.

New in 2017, the tournament will roll out the Ace Club, an exciting membership program for box and ticket package holders. The Ace Club is a recognition program providing unparalleled amenities and benefits during the tournament.  In addition, members have the option to receive access into the Ace Lounge, an exclusive hospitality tent providing first-class accommodations including, live entertainment, air-conditioning, elevated food options and more.

For more information on the tournament and ticket options, visit volvocaropen.com or call 800.677.2293.

_________________________

About the Volvo Car Open:

The Volvo Car Open is North America’s largest women’s only tennis tournament. The event, formerly known as the Family Circle Cup, moved to Charleston, S.C., in 2001 from Hilton Head Island, S.C., and will celebrate its 45th tournament in 2017. The Volvo Car Open welcomes more than 90,000 spectators each year. The tournament features a singles draw of 56 players, a qualifying draw of 32 players and a doubles draw of 16 players. The tournament is owned and operated by Charleston Tennis, LLC, a subsidiary of Meredith Corporation, publisher of Family Circle. For more information on the Volvo Car Open, visit http://www.VolvoCarOpen.com, call (800) 677-2293, email info@volvocaropen.com, Facebook (Volvo Car Open), Twitter (@VolvoCarOpen) or Instagram (VolvoCarOpen).

Petra hires Jiri Vanek as new coach

Petra has announced a new coach for the 2017 season, former ATP player Jiri Vanek.

Vanek is the former coach of Karolina Pliskova, who will now be coached by David Kotyza.

Petra was delighted to confirm the news:

“I’m happy to announce that Jiri Vanek will be my coach next year. I’m really looking forward to starting our preparation for 2017 together soon and welcome him to Team Petra.”

Petra claims 5th Krantzcke Award

Universally loved by her peers, it was no surprise that Petra Kvitova walked away with the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award for the fourth straight year.

It all came together for Petra Kvitova at the end of a long and grueling season.

Struggling with consistency and splitting with longtime coach David Kotyza, Kvitova caught fire after winning an emotional Bronze medal at the Olympic tennis event, roaring to her first title of 2016 at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open and finishing the season on a high with the Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai crown. She was later part of the Fed Cup team that took home its fifth victory in the last six years, in a nail-biter against France.

Kvitova took home one last honor before 2017 in the form of the the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award, her fourth in a row.

The Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award is awarded to the player who conducts herself in a manner fitting of a professional sports figure and observes the rules of fair play, shows respect for others and is gracious on and off the court. This award has been voted on by players since 1978 and has recognized athletes including Kim Clijsters, Elena Dementieva, Ana Ivanovic, Lindsay Davenport, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong-Cawley.

As she has done in Fed Cup, Kvitova has also earned this honor five of the last six years.