Petra Kvitova sinks Lucie Safarova to earn Wimbledon final return

Petra Kvitova_Wimbledon 2014 Finals

Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic celebrates during her Ladies’ Singles semi-final match against Lucie Safarova of Czech Republic (Getty Images)

LONDON, July 3, 2014: Former champion Petra Kvitova swept into her second Wimbledon final with a 7-6 (8/6), 6-1 victory over fellow Czech and close friend Lucie Safarova on Thursday.

Kvitova won her only Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2011 and the sixth seed is one more victory away from lifting the Venus Rosewater dish for the second time after seeing off 23rd seed Safarova with 24 winners and eight aces in 80 minutes on Centre Court.

The 24-year-old is back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since that surprise triumph against Maria Sharapova at the All England Club three years ago. Kvitova will play Canadian 13th seed Eugenie Bouchard or Romanian world number three Simona Halep in the final on Saturday.

“It’s great, definitely. I have a lot of emotion from this match,” Kvitova said.  “It was a tough match mentally because she is good friend of mine and we know each other well on and off the court. I knew she would play her best tennis and she did. Happily I won.

“I tried to be focused in the tie-break then I broke early in the second set and served well after that.”  As the only former Grand Slam winner left in the women’s tournament, Kvitova knows she has a glorious opportunity to finally get her hands on some significant silverware again.

“I know that feeling when you have the trophy,” she added. “I really want to win my second title and I will do everything I can on Saturday.”  Kvitova has been in fine form over the last fortnight, dropping just one set en route to the final and was playing in her third Wimbledon semi-final.

In contrast, Safarova, 27, was making her Grand Slam semi-final debut at the 37th attempt.  Kvitova, the only player born in the 1990s to win a Grand Slam title, knew it would be tricky to face one of her closest friends in the first all-Czech Grand Slam semi-final.

But she had already dispatched compatriots Andrea Hlavackova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova earlier in the tournament, and managed to keep her emotions in check long enough to get the best of her Fed Cup team-mate as well.  While Kvitova had lost three of her four Grand Slam semi-finals, she could take heart from her 5-0 record against Safarova and she was quickly back in control on a sun-kissed Centre Court.

Unloading a series of ferocious groundstrokes, Kvitova broke in the opening game when a backhand winner flashed past Safarova.  But Safarova was in combative mood herself and she broke back in the fourth game.

Kvitova had the upper hand in the tie-break and although she couldn’t convert her first set point, she capitalised on a rare Safarova miscue to earn another which she took with a superb winner before letting out a roar of celebration.

The momentum was with Kvitova now and she broke again in the second game of the second set, hammering a return which Safarova couldn’t handle. One more break in the sixth game put the final within touching distance and Kvitova sealed the deal in emphatic fashion.