Kvitova looking to Wimbledon after comeback title

Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova returns a ball to France's Kristina Mladenovic on day five of the Birmingham Classic tennis tournament at Edgbaston Priory Birmingham England Friday

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) - Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova beat Lucie Safarova in the Aegon Classic semifinals on Saturday to reach the first final since her playing hand was injured in a knife attack at her home.

"She is very highly ranked (12) and for me it is only the second tournament in my comeback".

"It was just nice to get a couple of good matches and it's nice to be able to come up against top players leading into a slam (Wimbledon) and try and test myself against the world's best", Barty said.

World number 77 Barty made a bright start and, having forced a break in the third game, held her nerve when facing two break-back points as she served out the first set.

It was Safarova's second success against a seed this week, her victory over the ninth-seeded Australian following another in the first round against the third-seeded Slovakian, Dominika Cibulkova, when Safarova saved two match points.

Breaks of serve were exchanged in the middle of the opening set, which Sevastova took, but Goerges fought back and broke in the sixth game of the second set before holding her service games to level up the match. She's won Wimbledon a couple of times and is incredible on grass court as well.

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"The hand is good which is the best news I could have, and I am not feeling any pain - and that's the best news", she repeated.

Muguruza advanced to a semi-final against Australian Ashleigh Barty, who also had a walkover, with Italian Camila Giorgi retiring with a leg injury in the first set when trailing 5-2. A good return from Barty gave her another chance, and this time Kvitova's drop-shot attempt landed on the net, giving the Aussie the lead. She underwent almost four hours of surgery on her left hand and forearm, and her left hand is still not fully recovered.

From 5-1, 30-0 up, the games seemed to be done for Kvitova; however, the Czech seemed to lose her rhythm all of a sudden, hitting two double-faults to go 30-all, and then two more errors to let Barty recover from one of the breaks. "She's changing direction a lot, slice, some volleys drop shot".

"I think she played very well", Muguruza said of Barty in her post-match press conference.

The momentum seemed to shift all on Kvitova's side in the latest part of the match.

Anastasija Sevastova won her first WTA title in seven years as she overcame Julia Goerges in three sets at the Mallorca Open. "For me it is important to use my slice on the grass and I love coming out here, slicing away and getting a bit of purchase on the ball and I was able to do that and it was really pleasing" she said. "It's very frustrating because she was playing a great match".

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