Defending champion Petra Kvitova races into Birmingham final

Mihaela Buzarnescu Birmingham 2018

Nature Valley Classic: Petra Kvitova beats Julia Goerges to reach semi-finals

Defending champion Petra Kvitova dispatched Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3 6-2 with a powerful display to reach the final at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham on Saturday. Rybarikova pulled one break back but she got broken again immediately in game five, having to serve to stay in the match at 1-5.

The fourth-seeded Kvitova used strident groundstrokes and uninhibited net attacks to earn her 36th victory of the year, more than any other player on tour. But I'm fit and that's what is really making me happy, that I can nearly play every week and enjoy it because I had so many years that I didn't play. "I know definitely she likes to play on grass, I remember our last meeting in New Haven in a final as well, so it'll be fun to watch and fun to play, hopefully".

She will face defending champion Petra Kvitova in the final - and much like with Strycova, she has a long-standing friendship with Kvitova. She opened her tournament with an impressive 6-2 6-3 win over the third seed Karolina Pliskova, before dropping her only set of the tournament in a 3-6 6-2 6-1 comeback win over Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic. "She's such a tricky player and she's amazingly talented".

"Yeah, I think she's pretty confident right now. When I broke her serve, it was a little bit kind of better for me". "We're good friends, so it'll be a fun final".

"I didn't really expect to win here". I will try my best. During practice, we played here today, but during the match, it's going to be something totally different. "Magdalena put me under pressure with her (service) returns". When I came here, the first practice was really good. Kvitova looked towards that big semifinal and the advantages that Buzarnescu can have on a grass court herself. I mean, the first match, that was wonderful match for me, to beat Karolina [Pliskova]. "But I can't see any easy first rounds here".

Rybarikova started well, with Kvitova showing more nerves than the Slovak in the early stages.

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