Kvitova thrilled to be in Slam final, 2 years after attack

Combined Shape

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Petra Kvitova really wanted to be the Australian Open champion. Of course she did.

That she lost the final at Melbourne Park to Naomi Osaka 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 on Saturday night was “painful, for sure,” to use Kvitova’s words. It was not, however, what caused her eyes to well up during the trophy ceremony.

Merely standing there was enough to stir her emotions.

“I can’t really believe,” Kvitova told the Rod Laver Arena crowd Friday night, “I played the final of a Grand Slam again.”

This was her first major title match since she won her second Wimbledon championship in 2014.

Trending:
CNN Fact Check Shows Biden Made Up Fake People to Support Jobs Plan

More poignantly, it was her first such appearance since December 2016, when an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic cut her left hand — the one she uses to play tennis — so badly that hours of surgery were required to repair it.

“I mean, I’ve been through many, many things. Not really great ones,” the 28-year-old Kvitova said. “As I said on the court, I didn’t know if I (was) going to hold the racket again. I’m holding it, so that’s good.”

The final nearly ended in the second set, when Osaka was up a break at 5-3 and held three championship points at love-40 on Kvitova’s serve. But Kvitova played terrifically there, while Osaka began to get jittery.

A remarkable run in which Kvitova grabbed five games in a row and 23 of 27 points gave her the second set and a 1-0 lead in the third.

“Petra played unbelievable,” said Osaka’s coach, Sascha Bajin. “She started swinging from the fences.”

But Osaka steadied herself after a trip to the locker room before the third set. A service break put Osaka ahead 2-1 in the third and there would not be another lapse.

So in the end, Kvitova did not collect what would have been her third major trophy; instead, Osaka got her second.

And Kvitova did not get to move all the way up to No. 1 in the WTA rankings for the first time; instead, Osaka achieved that.

But there was this, which was no small thing: Kvitova, who will now be ranked No. 2, proved to herself that she can be the player she used to be, and can contend for Grand Slam championships.

Related:
Tesla 'Driver' Arrested After Highway Patrol Officer Spots Him Riding in Back Seat

“I wanted to win and have the trophy. But I think I already won two years ago,” she said.

“I feel great. I’m playing great tennis,” Kvitova said. “I don’t think that I could really imagine … (being) kind of this player again.”

___

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

___

More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →






We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation