Kvitova faces Rybarikova in Birmingham final

Kvitova faces Rybarikova in Birmingham final

Kvitova faces Rybarikova in Birmingham final

Petra Kvitova displayed her credentials for a third Wimbledon title after beating Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 to defend her title at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham Sunday. "It was a really tough match and I knew I had to fight until the end". Kvitova looked towards that big semifinal and the advantages that Buzarnescu can have on a grass court herself. If she maintains this high level for another three weeks, everything seems possible for the player whose career looked seriously in doubt 18 months ago after a knife attack at her home in December 2016.

The Czech has won nine matches in a row at Birmingham, and now leads the WTA Tour for wins this season with 36.

"I'll think about the final tomorrow", Rybarikova said. "I really managed to focus and play well", Buzarnescu said after the match.

"Maybe she was the favorite because she beat me before, and I think it was a very good match and we had some fun on the court".

Petra Kvitova warmed up for Wimbledon in impressive style as the former All England Club champion won the WTA Birmingham tournament for the second successive year on Sunday.

But Kvitova responded promptly by breaking Rybarikova at the first attempt in the second set, and then saving a break back point in the following game with a well-timed net approach and a forthright volley.

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"I am always expected to win so it is never easy", said Kvitova.

"I didn't really expect to win here.

It's going to be quite amusing to play her", said Rybarikova.

The 28-year-old, who won the second of her two Wimbledon titles in 2014, hasn't been past the third round in her last three appearances at the Grand Slam.

Barbora Strycova, the feisty grasscourt expert who ousted Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza on Thursday, was leading 7-5 3-0 when Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko retired with a painful left hip.

The Czech star, who has yet to drop a set in Birmingham this week, continued her serene progress with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over her Romanian opponent. Each time, however, she got to 30-15 only to make mistakes and fail to hold serve.

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