Wimbledon Favorite Kvitova Cruises Into Birmingham Final, Rybarikova Next
by Staff | June 23rd, 2018, 7:14 pm
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Petra Kvitova is in terrific form of late. The Czech is a 2-time Wimbledon champion and continues to show why she’s the favorite at the third Grand Slam of the season. Today, Kvitova routed fellow lefty Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3, 6-2 to win her ninth straight match at the tournament.

“It took me a while from the beginning of the match to get used to a lefty serve and forehand and backhand,” Kvitova said. “There’s a little bit of a difference, so you just need to think a little bit differently, which I did.

“I’m almost always expected to win, so it’s never really easy going into a match in a semifinal at a tournament that I really like. The nerves are always there, so I just tried to play well and win.”

In the final, she’ll meet Wimbledon semifinal Magdalena Rybarikova who was a 7-6(1), 6-4 victory over Kvitova’s countrywoman Barbora Strycova.

Kvitova will seek her 5th title of the year, 25th of her career, and leads Rybarikova 5-1 in their head-to-head, though they have never met on grass.

“[We] have been practicing here this week, we always practice when we’re in tournaments together,” Kvitova said of the Slovak. “We’re good friends, so it’ll be a fun final. I remember our last meeting was in New Haven in a final as well.

“I know definitely she likes to play on the grass, she reached the semifinals last year during Wimbledon. So it’ll be fun to watch and fun to play, hopefully.”

The 29-year-old Rybarikova is looking for her first title of the year, 5th of her career. She won the Birmingham title in 2009.

“Petra is really one of my best friends also on tour,” Rybarikova said. “She’s really amazing girl. We know each other so long. It’s going to be quite funny to play her. The funny thing is that we played against each other only in semifinals or finals. I only managed to win one.

“When she’s on fire, you can go shake her hand and say, ‘Okay, I just want to leave from here.’ She plays absolutely amazing. For me, Petra is one of the best players when she is playing really on fire, so we will see how it’s going to be her day tomorrow. Hopefully, she is not going to be on fire, but if she is, then for me it’s a great tournament.

“I will try my best. During practice, we played here today, but during the match, it’s going to be something totally different. She’s a really great player and she’s the favorite of this match.”

In the Mallorca final, No. seed Anastasija Sevastova, a winner over Sam Stosur, will take on Tatjana Maria who ousted American teen Sofia Kenin in three sets.

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