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Friday 19 September 2014

Petra Kvitova overcomes hamstring scare and Lucia Safarova to make Wimbledon decider

Nick Purewal

Published 03/07/2014 | 15:00

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 03:  Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic plays a forehand return during her Ladies' Singles semi-final match against Lucie Safarova of Czech Republic on day ten of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club  on July 3, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Petra Kvitova plays a forehand return during her Ladies' Singles semi-final match against Lucie Safarova on day 10 of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships

Petra Kvitova powered into her second Wimbledon final just two weeks after a hamstring injury cast doubt on her involvement.

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The 2011 champion saw off Czech compatriot Lucie Safarova in straight sets to reach her second grand slam final on Thursday.

Kvitova prevailed 7-6 (8/6) 6-1 against 27-year-old Safarova, who always looked slightly overawed in her first grand slam semi-final.

The 24-year-old Kvitova was forced to withdraw from her Eastbourne quarter-final with Britain's Heather Watson on June 19 due to hamstring problems.

She then faced a race against time to be fit for Wimbledon, and has had her thigh heavily strapped throughout the tournament.

Any ill effects are hardly showing though, with the world number six dropping just one set - against Venus Williams in the third round - en route to the final.

Kvitova broke for a daunting 2-1 lead as the first-set action got under way, only for Safarova to recover immediately and bring the set back on serve.

The opening exchange then remained level-pegging before Safarova saved one set point in the tie-break.

Kvitova refused to waste her second opportunity though, claiming the set - and visibly denting Safarova's resolve in the process.

Kvitova cemented her dominance by converting a third break point to claim a 2-0 lead at the start of the second set.

A second break for Kvitova then took the former Wimbledon champion to the brink at 5-1, with Safarova fading under the pressure.

With such a comfortable cushion, Kvitova then produced a love service game to clinch the match and that second grand slam final.

Kvitova fell at the quarter-final stage in both 2012 and 2013 following her Wimbledon title victory.

Admitting she had always targeted further success in SW19, the Czech revealed her delight at reaching her second All England Club final.

"I can't really describe how I'm feeling right now, but it's great," Kvitova said.

"It's tough mentally as she's a good friend of mine. I knew she would play really well, but I'm just happy to have won.

"I tried to be focused from the beginning of the second set. I won the tie-break then I broke her when she served for the second time, and I served well until the last point.

"It's great to be back in the final. I'm just emotional from this match, but I still have two days to go to the final.

"I know what it's like to be defending a title here. I really want to win my second title here and I will do everything that I can."

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