By Ros Satar, in Paris
- Anett Kontaveit  def. Petra Kvitova  7-6(6) 7-6(4)
- Kvitova was on a 13-match winning streak
- Schedule for grass will be Birmingham, Eastbourne & Wimbledon
PARIS, FRANCE – Petra Kvitova closed the circle since her comeback this time last year with a 13-match winning streak, ended by Anett Kontaveit in the third round at Roland Garros.
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Anett Kontaveit  def. Petra Kvitova  7-6(6) 7-6(4)
A year ago, Petra Kvitova was moved to tears by the roaring welcome of the Philippe Chatrier crowd as she played her first match since an horrific knife attack at her home. In fact, on the eve of the tournament starting, news was filtering through from Czech press that the attacker, who had been uncaught for a year, had been arrested.
Since then, she has won titles in Birmingham last year (more tears), and then this year in St. Petersburg, Doha, Prague and Madrid, in a pair of back to back wins. Not bad for someone who feared she would ever be able to play tennis again.
Her clay court streak was an impressive 13 straight wins, from the Fed Cup semi-final, Prague, Madrid and then to the third round of Roland Garros, where Anett Kontaveit ended it and indeed snapped her own two-match losing streak against the Czech.
She said: “For sure wasn’t a good day today. But I tried everything what I could. I really left there everything. I’m pretty tired, I know. But pretty proud how I fought. And even I didn’t play great tennis today, I was still there trying.
“It was up and down in the first set, in the second set, in the tie-break. The whole match was like up and down. She really didn’t give me anything for free, so that’s why it was, like, two hours. So, it was pretty tiring match. But, yeah, sure I’m disappointed losing in the third, but that’s how it is.”
The match had been postponed from a rain-soaked Friday, and that was after having been re-assigned earlier in the day.
She continued: “I think it was much better playing today than yesterday for sure. I think if we came to the court, I think we would play three games and stopped anyway. So I felt it’s much better today playing in the beautiful day, as you said.
“And, yeah, like, in the end of the day, it doesn’t really make any differences, but was just better day and nicer day today. I get a little bit of suntan, you know, as well so… (smiling).”
Bring on the grass
The two-time Wimbledon champion garnered a lot of attention after winning in Birmingham last year so soon after her comeback, but those hopes petered out early in the second round. However, she is fit and has shown she has the tenacity to go on long unbeaten runs twice already this year, on the hard courts of St. Petersburg and Doha, and then on home soil in Prague before winning a third Madrid title. What is to stop her hitting the grass with as much intent?
“I couldn’t really imagine myself playing so well on the clay. So I’m very proud of myself. I didn’t really think that I will able to do what I did, winning two titles, playing good tennis here. So, like, for me, it was a great clay season. And I’m pretty sad that the clay season is finishing, but, yeah, I’m pretty happy about my clay season.
“I think sometimes you just need to play by your heart, which I did today. And I think that hopefully, actually, for the future it will help me, as well, building the confidence and everything what you need for the game. It’s one of the most important things in the tennis, which I think I did today, even I lost. Of course, I’m pretty sad, but, on the other hand, I’m very happy about everything in the life. So, yeah, I hope that that can help me to the grass and to the future.
“I’m playing some tournaments before Wimbledon, so I hope that the grass will be great as always. But, you know, Wimbledon last year wasn’t really great for me, so I try to do better, same as today, same as this French Open. And I don’t know. Hopefully I will be better. I feel better. That’s the most important thing, probably. And we’ll see. I love to play in Wimbledon, so who knows.”
The Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham takes place between 18-24 June
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