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Kvitova reaches first final since attack

25 June 2017

The other semi-final will be between former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and Australia's Ashleigh Barty, who both benefited from retirements.

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

Barty said she was delighted to have won through to the final of the tournament. "I am not feeling any pain and that's the best news".

"I strained it a little bit, but I will get a good treatment", the world number 41 said.

Barty was ranked at 271 at the start of the year, won her first career title in March in Kuala Lumpur, and has become the first Aussie finalist here in 25 years.

Kvitova will next play her fellow Czech Lucie Safarova, who survived a three-hour ordeal against Daria Gavrilova.

The Czech was playing her fifth match since returning from surgery on her left hand after she was stabbed during a burglary of her home six months ago. "I could not have imagined a better comeback".

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. Barty is now in her second career singles final and will also play in the Birmingham doubles final.

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"It's fantastic to have (Petra) back on the court", Barty said about facing Kvitova.

She underwent almost four hours of surgery on her left hand and forearm, and her left hand is still not fully recovered.

"It was lucky - I had been struggling from the moment I dropped serve", she admitted.

The twice former Wimbledon champion showed few signs of the appalling knife injuries to her playing hand in a thoroughly one-sided victory by a 6-1, 1-0 retired, which happened when Safarova, who had had two huge matches in the previous three days, pulled out with a thigh strain.

"It's incredible how she's coming back, and after what happened, how quickly she was able to return to play competition", said Safarova.

Kvitova will have a very different sort of match against Barty, who began to find a pattern which discomforted Muguruza mid-way through the second set.

Earlier in the week Safarova saved two match points against third-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the first round and three against Gavrilova in a what was an extremely entertaining three-hour contest. "I like slicing it around on the grass, and I didn't do much wrong". "She's one of the nicest girls and we really missed her".

Kvitova reaches first final since attack