Kvitova wins first title since stabbing

Petra Kvitova capped her remarkable comeback from a career-threatening hand injury by winning the Aegon Classic.

The Czech, playing in only her second tournament since she was stabbed by an intruder at her home in December, beat 21-year-old Australian Ashleigh Barty 4-6 6-3 6-3 in Birmingham.

Kvitova, 27, returned to action at the French Open in late May.

“It is something very special – it is like a dream or fairytale,” the two-time Wimbledon champion told BBC Sport.

“It has been a difficult time and I wasn’t sure if I would play again.

“It wasn’t about the tennis, but to come back healthy and alive.”

Kvitova first picked up a racquet again in March, 12 weeks after the attack, and began practising seriously at the beginning of May.

The left-hander, who has dropped to 16th in the world rankings, served an ace to clinch her 20th tour title.

“Congratulations to Petra. You are an inspiration, a champion, we love you, we missed you and it is amazing to have you back on court,” said Barty.

Barty, who returned to the sport last year after switching to play professional cricket in Australia’s Big Bash League, was playing in her first grass-court final.

She saved two breaks of serve at 5-4 to take the opening set, the first Kvitova had lost in the tournament.

However, Kvitova broke early in the second set before both players traded breaks as she levelled the match.

She sealed victory by winning 17 of the final 18 points.

“From the first hit on the grass I felt great. I didn’t have expectations of any goals or of winning tournaments,” said Kvitova.

“I don’t care who is favourite for Wimbledon. My view of life has changed a lot and there are more important things about tennis.

“Of course I would like to play my best at Wimbledon but if I don’t then I won’t worry.”

 

Petra Kvitova wins Aegon Classic
Daria Gavrilova, the world number 21, did not need any words to congratulate Kvitova…
Petra Kvitova wins Aegon Classic
American player Sloane Stephens also praised Kvitova’s achievement
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