Defending champ Kvitova back in Birmingham final


Last year’s champion Petra Kvitova is back into the final at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham after powering past the tricky Mihaela Buzarnescu in straight sets.

Kvitova has yet to drop a set this week, and she continued her torrid progress against the Romanian, needing just over 70 minutes to notch the 6-3, 6-2 victory.

Read more: Rybarikova returns to Birmingham final

“It took me a while from the beginning of the match to get used to a lefty serve and forehand and backhand,” Kvitova admitted in her on-court interview. “There’s a little bit of a difference, so you just need to think a little bit differently, which I did.

“I’m almost always expected to win, so it’s never really easy going into a match in a semifinal at a tournament that I really like. The nerves are always there, so I just tried to play well and win.”

 

The Czech’s numbers this year speak for themselves – after extending her Birmingham win streak to nine matches in a row, she’s through to her fifth final of the season. The win was her 51st career victory on grass, and she leapfrogs Simona Halep with a tour-leading 36 wins this season.

 “Amazing statistics this week!” Kvitova beamed. “I didn’t expect that from the beginning of the season – I didn’t really start well in Australia. So far this season is incredible, and I really can’t imagine a better season so far.”

 

Standing between Kvitova and her second-straight Birmingham title will be the unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova, whose game thrives on the grass courts.

The Slovakian has reached the semifinal here three times – winning the title in 2009 – but trails Kvitova 1-5 in their overall head-to-head record.

 

WTATennis.com // photo: Getty Images