One of the biggest stories heading into Wimbledon this year is the entrance of two-time champion Petra Kvitova, who has amazed the tennis world with her surprisingly quick comeback from injuries sustained from a knife attack in December last year.
Despite only playing two tournaments this year, Kvitova, who won the title at the All England Club in 2011 and 2014, is seeded at 11th for the tournament (just one spot less than she was last year) and goes in as one of the favorites for the title in what is an open women’s singles draw.
2017 results before the grass court season
As previously mentioned, the Czech has missed the vast majority of the season due the injuries she sustained in the off season, though made it back onto court much earlier than anyone would have expected.
Kvitova revealed back in April that her recovery was going ahead of schedule and that there was a possibility that she could play at the French Open, the second Grand Slam tournament of year. Days before the tournament, the world number 12 confirmed that she would return to the sport in Paris, and the whole tennis world was thrilled when she won her opening match against Julia Boserup at Roland Garros.
Though she fell to qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second round, Kvitova’s tennis was at a surprisingly high level considering the events of the past few months, and gave many hope that she would have a solid grass court season.
Grass court season
Kvitova only played one tournament on grass ahead of the third Grand Slam tournament of the year. However, things could not have gone any better at the Aegon Classic, as she won her 20th WTA Tour title.
Seeded seventh, Kvitova eased past lucky loser, and fellow Czech, Tereza Smitkova in her opening round match before putting in another dominant performance against Naomi Broady to reach the quarterfinals. In the last eight she arguably put in her best performance of the season, edging past the in-form Kristina Mladenovic in two tight sets, before making the final after fellow Czech Lucie Safarova retired when trailing by a set in their semifinal. Kvitova had her toughest match of the week in the final against the unseeded Ashleigh Barty, though successfully came from a set down to beat the Australian and cap off her return to the sport with an incredible triumph.
Kvitova pulled out of the Aegon International with an abdominal injury earlier today. The reasoning is likely a precaution ahead of her quest for a third Wimbledon title.
Best Wimbledon result
As previously mentioned, Kvitova knows exactly what it takes to succeed on the grass courts at the All England Club, having taken the title in both 2011 and 2014.
Her first triumph six years ago was the high point of arguably the best season of her career. Seeded eighth, Kvitova didn’t concede more than three games in a set to make the quarterfinals, easing past qualifier Alexa Glatch, Anne Keothavong, 29th seed Roberta Vinci, and Yanina Wickmayer to make her second consecutive final at the All England Club.
In the last eight she battled past Tsvetana Pironkova in three sets to reach the semifinals, before prevailing in three sets once again against fourth seed Victoria Azarenka to make her first Grand Slam final. There, despite not being the favorite, she saw off fifth seed Maria Sharapova to win her first Grand Slam title aged just 21.
Three years later, sixth-seeded Kvitova started extremely well, dropping a combined total of five games in her opening round matches against Andrea Hlavackova and Mona Barthel, before battling past 30th seed Venus Williams in a tight, high-quality three set match to make the second week. She eased past Peng Shuai to make the quarterfinals, before beating fellow Czechs Barbora Strycova and 23rd seed Lucie Safarova in straight sets in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively to make her second SW19 final.
In that final, against 13th seed Eugenie Bouchard, Kvitova put in one of the most dominant Grand Slam final displays in recent memory, winning 6-3, 6-0 in just 55 minutes to take her second Wimbledon title.
Kvitova has struggled at Wimbledon since then, losing to Jelena Jankovic in the third round in 2015 and in the second round to Ekaterina Makarova last year, though heads into this year’s edition with a lot of confidence, and it would not be surprise if she was once again holding the Venus Rosewater Dish in a few weeks time.