Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is finding her stride on her comeback trail. The former world number two won her first round match against compatriot Tereza Smitkova yesterday. It was six months to the day of the stabbing, and the seventh seed tweeted after her match about it.
Nonetheless, on Day three of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, the current world number 16 dispatched Britain's Naomi Broady, 6-2, 6-2 with ease, to reach the quarterfinals on her third visit to the Second City. It is also the first time since November, when she won the WTA Elite Trophy, that she has managed to record back-to-back victories. Kvitova will face either the fifth seed Kristina Mladenovic or Zhang Shuai in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Kvitova displays stunning tennis to claim the first set
Britain's world number 111 got off to a good start by holding to love. It was an important day for Broady as she received a wildcard into the main draw of the Ladies' singles at Wimbledon. Nevertheless, Kvitova got onto the scoreboard early with an easy hold to 15.
Moreover, Broady who is older than Kvitova by only eight days older (nine days if it's a leap year) than the two-time Wimbledon champion, had a tricky second service game but she managed to hold onto her serve with some good serving to lead 2-1.
The seventh seed continued to send the pressure back to Broady as she held to love for the first time in the match. However, a turning point of the match was Broady leading 40-0, Kvitova applied more pressure by returning her serves and a smash volley winner got the game to deuce. The Stockport-native was unable to deal with the pressure as she surrendered her serve with a double-fault that allowed the Czech to break for the first time in the match.
Kvitova was in her groove, and her serve to love was flawless with a couple of winners down the line, and the game was sealed with favored lefty serve to send an ace down the T, consolidating the break.
The two-time Wimbledon champion continued to expose the weakness of Broady's movement around the grass court in Birmingham as she raced out to a 0-40 lead. She played a stunning half-volley winner to bring up those three break points. The Brit saved the first with a forehand winner down the line but the inevitable occurred with Kvitova breaking Broady for the double break with a fine return, causing the error from Broady's racquet.
Kvitova continued to find joy on her serve as she sent down two back-to-back aces to seal the first set in her pocket in just 29 minutes, 6-2.
The Czech books her spot in a quarterfinal for the first time in seven months
The former world number 76 was under pressure from the word go in her opening service game of the second set. Kvitova produced a stunning forehand winner down the line, stepping into the court to finish the point off quickly, and she followed it up with an outstanding backhand winner down the line, building a 15-30 lead. Moreover, Broady regrouped and she held onto her serve with an ace down the T, followed by a forehand winner down the line. Which was crucial for the lanky Brit.
The dual Wimbledon champion was struggling with her serve for the first time in the match as Broady managed to win more than one point on the Czech's serve getting the game leveled to 30-30. Nevertheless, Kvitova snuffed out the trouble with a serve out wide to level the second set at 1-1.
The Brit held onto her next service game with ease, and although she didn't create a break point chance. It was her best chance of the match to break the seventh seed's serve. Kvitova committed a couple of double faults, and she was taken to deuce but she managed to hold onto her serve with an ace down the T, a sweet half-volley winner.
It seemed as though that the wind had finally sailed out of Broady as she trailed at 0-40 but she saved all three of them with an ace out wide, saving the third one. However, they engaged in a lengthy rally which Broady was bossing, and she should have won the point but her backhand sailed long. Kvitova had one foot in the quarterfinals by virtue of another double fault from Broady to lead 3-2.
The seventh seed consolidated the break with a hold to love, and Broady was unable to fend off two break points as she saved the first one with an ace out wide, but she committed a double fault to surrender her serve once again.
The two-time Wimbledon champion easily booked her place in the quarterfinals at the Aegon Classic with an ace out wide to win the match in a mere one hour and two minutes. It was the hottest day in June, recorded in 41 years, and Kvitova would have been pleased to have got one and off the court quickly.