By Ros Satar, in Birmingham

  • Petra Kvitova [4] def. Julia Goerges [5] 6-1 6-4
  • Mihaela Buzarnescu def. Elina Svitolina [2/WC] 6-3 6-2
BIRMINGHAM, UK – The second semi-final at the Nature Valley Classic will be a rematch between Prague finalists Petra Kvitova and Mihaela Buzarnescu.

 

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Petra Kvitova [4] def. Julia Goerges [5] 6-1 6-4

Defending champion Petra Kvitova has yet to drop a set as she eased past Julia Goerges to book her semi-final berth. Although the first match looked very one-sided, Kvitova felt she did not settle fully into the match until half way through the first set.

Although the conditions were perfect compared to the more blustery conditions of the day before, it took some time for her to adjust.

She said: “I think the score looks a little bit different compared to game. I think I find kind of my game after the second half of the first set actually. I think in the beginning of the match, we were both, like, kind of finding the rhythm and finding the serve and finding the shots as well, especially on my serve.

“Sometimes I’ve been pretty lucky that she missed the return. I didn’t put the first serve in which was kind of tough to play then. I felt like Julia had kind of troubles with the second serve as well in the beginning of the match. When I broke her serve, it was a little bit kind of better for me, but was still trying to find good rhythm on the serve which I find afterwards.

“Especially on the second set playing with the break in the second from the beginning was a little bit relaxed for sure. But on the other hand, I know how she’s playing even if she’s down. She really went for the shots and for the returns as well. I’m pretty happy with the game how I played like the first two points in the rallies.”

 

Mihaela Buzarnescu def. Elina Svitolina [2/WC] 6-3 6-2

Mihaela Buzarnescu in the second round of the Nature Valley Classic, WTA Birmingham 2018

Mihaela Buzarnescu in the second round of the Nature Valley Classic, WTA Birmingham 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

For the second time in as many months, Elina Svitolina found herself on the receiving end of Mihaela Buzarnescu free-swinging style of play, up-ended in the quarter-final in straight sets. The Romanian seemed fairly non-plussed both about her continued rise in the rankings and also her successful transition from the clay to the grass.

She said: “It’s really great that Great Britain is doing three tournaments in a row before Wimbledon. It’s really helping the players adapt and play more matches on grass court. Well, next week I’m playing in Eastbourne, which I heard was on the seaside, more wind and cooler. It’s fine and really good until now. We had just a little bit of rain last week. Beside that, it’s fine.”

 

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Nature Valley Classic 2018 | Slice and Dice as ‘tricky’ Rybarikova and Strycova set for semi-final clash

 

Kvitova v Buzarnescu | H2H: Kvitova leads 1-0

The Romanian enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2017, climbing rapidly up the rankings to No. 72, mainly with some solid showings on the ITF circuit last year, although she was quick to point out that life in the lower tier presented some challenges.

She said: “In ITFs, the organisation is much more different, and the facilities are lower. The way you’re treated, it’s worse than in the WTAs, which is not so good, because we are all players, we all try the same thing. But unfortunately, in the ITFs, you struggle so much more.

“So for me that I was able last year to win tournaments, the ITFs tournaments and get my ranking higher, just it let me play this level here. I really hope I can stay healthy and play on this level as much as possible from now on.”

Kvitova is not taking anything for granted despite winning an emotional final in Prague, but away from the emotions and on her favourite surface, she knows better than to take her experience at this level for granted.

She said: “I think she’s pretty confident right now. She’s in good form as we see. Until I met her in Prague final, I didn’t really know much about her. Obviously, I heard the name, saw the name doing well in the draw, but I never really pay attention until that time when we play three-setter. It was a really big fight.

“She’s a lefty. Probably she like the grass as well using a lefty serve. I mean, she’s playing with the confidence with nothing to lose. Like for me she seems to be really relaxed every time she’s on the court, off the court. That’s probably her biggest weapon now.”

The semi-finals of the Nature Valley Classic start at 11:30am.

 

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