The No.11 seed, a pre-tournament favourite having swept to the title in Birmingham, faded in the latter stages of a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 defeat to the world No.95. It was only the Czech’s third tournament since returning from a hand injury suffered in a knife attack at her home in December last year.
After levelling the match, Kvitova was visibly struggling, eventually calling for the trainer, who checked her blood pressure with the score at 2-5. It mattered little as Brengle served out the match to set up a third round showdown with the French No.21 seed Caroline Garcia, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Romanian Ana Bogdan.
“My body just didn’t really do the best, unfortunately,” Kvitova said. “But I was really trying. I fight, and I’m not sure what happened, actually. I could not just breathe, and I was feeling a bit sick, as well.
“Unfortunately, it happened at Wimbledon, which is not nice. But she still played what she could. I mean, she hit everything back. It was just tough for me to still have the energy to put it back and play my aggressive game.”
This was Kvitova’s third loss in four career meetings with the 27-year-old Brengle, whose victory opens up the draw for the No.6 seed, Johanna Konta, who was due to meet Kvitova in the fourth round. For the Czech, it is back to the hand specialist before a return to cracking balls on the practice court after what has been an extraordinary comeback so soon after her ordeal.
“No one knows how hard I had to work to be back, so probably that feels more disappointing than normally it is,” Kvitova admitted.
“But it’s been great to be here again. I mean, it was my goal to play this event this year, and that’s what I did. So probably, deep in myself, I feel very grateful to have this option to play, but on the other hand, I feel sad that I have to leave so early.”
The result is negligible in the scheme of things. A return to doing what she loves most has been a triumph in itself.
By Dan Imhoff (wimbledon.com)