Petra Kvitova

Petra quells Mladenovic surge in Birmingham

The Petra Kvitova Comeback Train is picking up speed at the Aegon Classic. Playing just her second tournament of 2017, the Czech star outpaced Kristina Mladenovic, 6-4, 7-6(5) to reach the final four in Birmingham.

“It was close,” she said during her on-court interview. “The second set was very close. I’m happy how I managed to win it, but it was really tight. Kristina played better than the start and that made it difficult to hold serve and play well.”

Kvitova and Mladenovic exchanged breaks to start, and the two-time Wimbledon winner took control from there, dropping just three points behind her first serve to clinch the opening set.

“Both of us play really fast on this surface. The grass suits her game as well, so it was about a few points here in there, one or two key breaks in the match.”

In control of the second, Kvitova had the No.5 seed on the ropes when Mladenovic turned things up a notch to break back and get within a game of a decider.

“I didn’t feel nervous, but maybe my body was a bit tired.” Kvitova said in her post-match press conference. “But I felt like the wind came stronger and I couldn’t hold my serve and I wasn’t able to really hit it perfectly as before. I made two double faults, and it’s difficult to play on grass when you have that in the mind. So I was glad that I was able to make it for 6-6, and then in the tiebreak you have to really play every point and just wait how everything is going, which a little lucky in the end. So yeah, it was on my side.”

Kvitova held on to force a tiebreak, clinching victory off a letcord return winner after one hour and 43 minutes on court.

“It was a mix of emotion because the match point was lucky. So I was happy, but on the other side I was like, I’m sorry. Like overall I’m happy that I won, for sure. I mean Kiki has great runs this year. She’s very highly ranked. For me it’s the second tournament of my comeback it’s a good match playing on the grass. So overall I’m very happy with my performance.”

In all, it was an aggressive display from both players, but Kvitova got the upper hand with nine aces and 27 winners to 28 unforced errors – against 13 winners and 21 errors from Mladenovic.