Kvitova crowns ‘fairytale’ comeback with Birmingham win
Petra Kvitova is the new Aegon Classic Birmingham champion after an emotional 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Ashleigh Barty at Edgbaston Priory Club on Sunday.
This was the 20th title of Kvitova’s career but one of her more memorable. The 27-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion was playing only her second tournament since returning to competition following six months spent recovering from hand injuries sustained during an incident at her home in December.
This was Kvitova’s first final on grass since her 2014 Wimbledon triumph (she also won there in 2011) and her first title since she took the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai at the end of last year. The enforced break from tennis notwithstanding, Kvitova has won three of the last five tournaments that she has played in (and also reached the final in Luxembourg).
She took time to settle against Barty before finding her range at 2-2 in the second set, which proved to be a turning point in the match. By the time she came to serve for the match at 5-2 in the decider, she had already started to become emotional. Moments later she lifted the Maud Watson Trophy to rapturous applause.
Speaking about her win, Kvitova said:
“I think I’ve been through a very difficult time in my life, and it wasn’t about the tennis, but about to come back healthy and alive and move my fingers properly and everything like that. And this is something clearly special. It’s some bonus to have in my life and my career and everything. And that’s what I fight that hard to come back to play tennis. And I always said that I’m not here just to play tennis. I’m here to play my best and to win trophies, like today. So I have to say I’m kind of proud of myself that I did it today.”
There was some consolation for Barty in the doubles. She and Casey Dellacqua won their second Aegon Classic Birmingham title (they also won in 2013) with a 6-1 2-6 10-8 win over Hao-Ching Chan (TPE) and Shaui Zhang (CHN).
Speaking about her week at Edgbaston Priory Club, Ashleigh said:
“I think we have to be very happy with where the game is at. I’ve played some quality tennis and lost to only a couple of great players. So I’m really excited and I can’t wait to get to Wimbledon.”