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'Not very many people believe that I can do that again', Petra Kvitova reflects on qualifying for her first Grand final since 2014

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 24 Jan 2019
  • Petra Kvitova reached her first Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2014 after defeating Danielle Collins in straight sets on Thursday
  • Kvitova will take on Naomi Osaka for the Australian Open title on Saturday.
Petra Kvitova. (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP/Getty Images)

Petra Kvitova reached her first Grand Slam final since Wimbledon 2014 when she defeated American, Danielle Collins at the Australian Open on Thursday.

Two-time Grand Slam champion, Kvitova had struggled to make any impact in recent majors, but the Czech has returned to Grand Slam reckoning in spectacular fashion at the 2019 Australian Open, scything through the draw  without dropping a set. 

Kvitova’s run to a maiden Australian Open final comes just over two years after she suffered hand injuries in a knife attack in her home in the Czech Republic, which left her wondering whether she would ever play tennis again, but she has overcome that setback, and is back playing some of her best tennis in Melbourne. The left-hander is not just one match away from the Australian Open title, but also the world No. 1 ranking, as she will ascend to the top of rankings for the first time in her career if she defeats Naomi Osaka in Saturday’s final.

“It means everything. That’s why I’ve worked so hard to reach finals of tournaments and finals of majors”, Kvitova said on-court after her victory over Collins.  
 “I think not very many people believe that I can do that again, to stand on the court and play tennis and kind of play on this level. It was just really few of them, I think”.

Kvitova had surgery on her hand following the knife incident, and missed the first five months of 2017. The former world No. 2 was down at No. 29 in the rankings by the end of the year, but she surged back into the top ten in a fine 2018, winning five titles. The only negative from last season was her performances at the majors, with her best result being third-round runs at Roland Garros and the US Open. She lost in the first round at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

Correcting that poor Grand Slam record would have been a big priority at the start of the 2019 season, and she has gone about that in Australian like a woman on a mission, powering past Magdalena Rybarikova, Irina-Camelia Begu, Belinda Bencic, Amanda Anisimova and Ashleigh Barty to set up Thursday’s semi-final meeting with Collins.

Collins had put together a terrific sequence of results to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final, beating Julia Goerges, Caroline Garcia, Angelique Kerber and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on her way to the last four.

The American had pushed Kvitova hard in their only previous meeting in Brisbane earlier this season- Kvitova winning in three sets after an epic three-hour duel- and the early exchanges of their Melbourne rematch suggested that this was going to be another very tight one. Collins grabbed the first break of the match for a 3-2 lead, but Kvitova restored parity immediately, converting her fifth break point of a lengthy sixth game with a forehand winner. 

The rest of the set passed without any break points, but Kvitova took command in the tie break, carving out four set points with an ace down the middle, and taking the set with a serve and volley winner. With the first set in the bag, Kvitova accelerated away from Collins, racing through the second set to love to book her spot in the final. She was just too powerful in the end, smashing 30 winners to Collins’ nine, while she kept things tidy with just 27 unforced errors. Victory over Collins stretches Kvitova’s winning streak to 11 matches, as she had won the Sydney title in the week before the Australian Open.

“I'm still not really believing that I'm in the final. It's kind of weird, to be honest, as well, that I didn't know even if I gonna play tennis again, Kvitova said.

Well, she’s back, and playing some spectacular tennis, and will now attempt to crown a superb campaign with the Australian Open title when she takes on Naomi Osaka in Saturday’s final.

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"Not very many people believe that I can do that again", Petra Kvitova reflects on qualifying for her first Grand final since 2014

Petra Kvitova will contest her first Grand Slam final since Wimbledon 2014 following her victory over Danielle Collins on Thursday.

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