Kvitova, Barty into Birmingham semis

Kvitova, Barty into Birmingham semis

The second set was barely underway at 1-0 before Safarova conceded the match with her leg causing her too many problems.

Then we had people dropping like flies during the tournament with two quarter-finals cut short on Friday as first Coco Vandeweghe and then Camila Giorgi pulled up short in their matches. The hand is good, which is the best news which I can have, and I am not feeling any pain, and that's the best news.

Barty won the Wimbledon girls title six years ago and proved a revelation in the way she used slice to blunt her famous opponent's attack before counter-attacking with heavy forehand drives.

Kvitova said: "Ashleigh, she's the kind of player for sure with a great touch". "I like big matches, and I've missed it over the last six months".

"I couldn't have imagined to have a better comeback than I am having now".

In the other half the tournament's other Grand Slam victor, Garbine Muguruza, survived a powerful assault against CoCo Vandeweghe who eventually had to retire with an injured ankle picked up in her opening match and which she aggravated when she fell in the second set.

Kvitova, 16th in the world, is looking forward to facing the 21-year-old Barty, ranked No. 77 and advancing to the biggest final of her career.

Barty burned me in the semifinals and has a chance to do it again.

It was the tenacious Australian who saved five set points on her way to winning the opener before Safarova hit back.

The tournament's other Grand Slam victor, Muguruza, reached the semifinals for only her third time this year and the first on grass since reaching the final of Wimbledon almost two years ago.

This is just her second tournament since her return and she can now crown it with a trophy after Safarova withdrew, with Kvitova leading 6-1 1-0.

Petra Kvitova progressed to her first final on grass since 2014. With a serve that's just been flawless out of the gate, Kvitova is showing that she has the potential to return to the top-10 rather quickly. In the second set though Barty's range of shots and her ability to slice and dice undid the Spaniard quite effectively.

Asked if the comeback had gone better than expected, she replied: "Yes".

Kvitova looked close to her best against Fed Cup team-mate and close friend Safarova, who was carrying the injury into the match. "But, for me, so far, great rounds on grass courts".

Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova in action against Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova during their semifinal match at the Birmingham Classic tennis tournament at Edgbaston Priory, Birmingham, England. "She's one of the nicest girls you'll ever meet, not just in the tennis world".

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