In her second tournament back since injuring her left hand last year, and her first back on grass, Petra Kvitova on Sunday won the Aegon Classic in Birmingham from a set down, in the final defeating Aussie Ashleigh Barty 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
“I didn’t expect this in my second tournament of my comeback,” said the former Wimbledon champion. “So yeah, I think it’s kind of a fairytale…I was nervous. It wasn’t the normal nerves as I had before. It’s my first final after such a long time, and it was a bit difficult to handle. I struggled a lot.”
Kvitova did not drop a set en route to the final, beating another comeback player in Barty who left the sport for two years to pursue cricket before returning to tennis. Since then she won her first singles title at Kuala Lumpur this year and finished runner-up at the French Open doubles with countrywoman Casey Dellacqua.
“We both started well and I served particularly well in that first set and I think it gave me the upper hand,” said Barty, who upset former Wimbledon runner-up Garbine Muguruza en route to the final.
Kvitova said losing the first set gave her a chance to reset.
“Maybe it will sound weird, but I think it was nice to lose the first set, that I had to fight for the second and for the third,” the Czech said. “I think will give me some extra confidence that I am still able to fight, even if I lose the first set. I know I can still win long matches, so I think that’s important, as well.”
Kvitova improved to 20-7 in career finals, while Barty fell to 1-1.
Barty and Dellacqua won the doubles title, in the final defeating Chan Hao-Ching and Zhang Shuai 6-1, 2-6, 10-8.
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