Petra Kvitova powered her way into a second Birmingham final as she comprehensively beat the rising Romanian, Mihaela Buzarnescu, in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 in today’s semi-final.
During the match, both players would really try to find their mark by putting the first aggressive forehand into the court, but the two-time Wimbledon champion created so many opportunities and wrestled control of the match to go up an early break. That momentum was firmly halted as Kvitova found herself losing rhythm on serve, but immediately salvaged the break back to go up 4-2. The Czech dropped just the one more game for the remainder of the set as she found a good enough service groove to win her seventh set in a row this week.
Buzarnescu soon found out the real problem with having an aggresive approach when playing against Kvitova. The Czech prevents an aggressive player from ever putting their mark on the match and does this incredibly well on a fast surfaces, such as grass. Kvitova served a total of five double faults, but that was offset by the six aces she managed to get into play. Buzarnescu tried to step into the court and work through her strong forehand side, but the weight of shot that Kvitova possesses from both sides is something that proved to be a bit of a conundrum for the Romanian, who simply could not punch holes into the aggressive baseline game of Kvitova.
When the serve worked for Kvitova it was hard for Buzarnescu to make enough inroads on her own return, because of the effectiveness of her left-handed serve and due to different kinds of serve she can produce to win control of the point from the first shot. Two breaks was all that was required for Kvitova to return to the Birmingham final after that miraculous, heart-warming title victory twelve months ago, where she rallied her way to the title as a wildcard.
During Kvitova’s stay in Birmingham, she has frequently talked about the importance of her serve and how it has been hitting the lines, finding the corners and mainly staying consistent, particularly in her matches against Johanna Konta and Julia Goerges. During her semi-final match, however, she was very impressed at how she served in the important moments, whether it was at 0-30 down or break point down in a game, Kvitova had that experience and confidence on serve to dig herself out of holes time after time.
“For sure will be the important points when I need to serve well and play well. When I was, like, two games 15-40, when I faced some breakpoints, that’s probably the best that I can remember from that match. To stay in the game, to serve well, to play well, to turn the game around. I know she’s returning pretty well as she showed today, but in the key points, I serve better. So that was important, ” she said.
At the beginning of the week, the Czech No.2 expressed how although the tournament feeling was different, she was not necessarily feeling any pressure. When asked about this once again she revealed that making the final was something she did not anticipate at the beginning of the tournament.
“You know, when I was practicing before coming here, I couldn’t really imagine to be here all week, so I just said it to the coaches that I don’t really expect that. But from the first round, I really felt relaxed as I said already here. Even today, I was facing breakpoints and I was just pretty positive in the mind, which I’m happy with for sure because it’s not happening every week. So I’m taking it very positively.”
Kvitova now opens up as favourite in her second Birmingham final on Sunday as she faces grass-court specialist and a former winner here in Magdalena Rybarikova