Kvitova into Birmingham final to face Barty

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Standing between former world No. 2 Muguruza and a spot in her first final since winning her only Grand Slam title at the 2016 French Open will be Australian Ashleigh Barty, the victor after Camila Giorgi of Italy was forced to retire trailing 5-2 in the first set.

Petra Kvitova said on Sunday that coming back from a set down to win her first title since suffering a career-threatening injury has given her added confidence ahead of Wimbledon, which starts on July 3.

The two-time Wimbledon champion sustained serious hand injuries when an intruder broke into her apartment and attacked her last December.

This is Kvitova's first grass-court final since her triumph at 2014 Wimbledon, though this significant achievement was tinged with anti-climax as Safarova quit with a right thigh strain after only eight games.

Barty, who three years ago took time out from the sport to play in Australia's domestic women's cricket competition, had pulled off an upset in the semi, beating Spain's Garbine Muguruza, the 2015 Wimbledon runner-up.

So well has she been playing that it has become even more significant that this tournament is a Wimbledon warm-up event, for Kivitova is already beginning to suggest she can again do well at the grass court Grand Slam starting in nine days' time.

Her punchy and tenacious approach was effective again, as the world No77 lost one point in her first four service games and took the first set with some comfort.

Building on her advantage, Kvitova followed up with a second break before serving out strongly with an ace to seal her remarkable comeback success.

"The hand is good, which is the best news I could have", she said. In the second set though Barty's range of shots and her ability to slice and dice undid the Spaniard quite effectively.

"I'm obviously I'm in a very different place. I was very happy with my performance". I love playing finals, I like big matches, and I've missed it over the last six months. "So I'm happy that I was able to win it anyway". So it was a sad affair when Lucie Safarova failed to halt Petra Kvitova " s own version of "La Decima' as she notched up a tenth win over her compatriot.

By now Kvitova was striking her ground strokes harder, scoring brilliantly with her inside-out forehand, and she closed out the second set with two aces in three points. So I think that's important.

Vandeweghe injured a foot in her opening match which, she said, contributed to her tumble in the second set.

She sealed victory by winning 17 of the final 18 points.

Kvitova and Barty are scheduled on Centre Court, at 1:30pm BST.
. "But I felt like the wind came stronger and I couldn't hold my serve and I wasn't able to really hit it perfectly as before".