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Petra Kvitova insists Wimbledon is a different challenge after Eastbourne title

Taylor Fritz edged a nail-biting all-American battle with Maxime Cressy in the men’s final.

Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova insists Wimbledon will be a “totally different” challenge after surprising herself by storming to glory at the Rothesay International in Eastbourne.

Kvitova, a two-time winner at SW19, blitzed defending champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 6-2 to win the Devonshire Park title for the first time.

The 32-year-old had arrived in East Sussex short of form before warming up for the All England Club with a string of convincing victories culminating in a first grass-court final since 2018.

Kvitova said it was tough to compare her current shape to when she won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014 but admits anything is possible as she bids to end an eight-year wait for Grand Slam success.

“I do feel very well on the grass,” said the former world number two, who will play Italian Jasmine Paolini in the first round in south-west London.

“I moved very nicely as well, playing some good shots, serving well, returning well but it will be totally different over there.

“It’s a new tournament, a new week, everything can happen.

“I’m just looking forward to being there but it’s just difficult to compare (to 2011 and 2014).

“I know I will give everything I have on the court and we will see what happens.”

Victory for 14th seed Kvitova brought a 29th career singles title and provides a timely confidence boost.

Her maiden Wimbledon triumph came after she lost the Eastbourne final to Marion Bartoli 11 years ago.

The powerful Czech never looked in any danger of further disappointment on the south coast as she brushed aside an off-colour Ostapenko in just an hour and 17 minutes.

Kvitova later revealed she still “sometimes” feels the effects of a knife attack suffered in December 2016 which left her requiring surgery on her playing hand but preferred not to elaborate due to her participation in the forthcoming championships.

Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova celebrates victory (Adam Davy/PA)

She is determined to enjoy the summer slam, with the absence of ranking points following the ban on Russian and Belarusian players contributing to her relaxed mood.

“I’m not thinking about it (winning the title); I was not thinking even in 2011 about it,” she said.

“I was just going to play match by match, which I think I am going to do the same because my year so far wasn’t great at all – it was my first semi-final, final and title of the year.

“So I was a bit struggling. I was really looking forward to being on my favoured grass and this is the result of it, which is surprising as well.

“I’m so happy to be there (Wimbledon) again, it’s a beautiful tournament and I will enjoy it. I’m not losing points; I’m not gaining points, so whatever.”

Jelena Ostapenko
Jelena Ostapenko was hampered by a toe injury (Adam Davy/PA)

Ostapenko had previously not dropped a set all week but struggled to deal with her opponent’s booming serve and blistering forehand during an error-strewn display.

The 25-year-old Latvian’s below-par showing was perhaps later explained when she pulled out of the women’s doubles final due to a toe injury, handing the title to Serbian Aleksandra Krunic and Poland’s Magda Linette.

She is scheduled to face France’s Oceane Dodin in her Wimbledon opener on Monday.

Taylor Fritz backed himself for a strong run at SW19 after edging a nail-biting all-American battle with Maxime Cressy to win the men’s singles.

The 24-year-old, who prevailed 6-2 6-7 (4) 7-6 (4) in two hours and 17 minutes, is seeded 11th for the championships and begins against Italian Lorenzo Musetti.

“I think I can go really far,” he said. “I’ve been pretty locked in here all week so it’s not going to be too tough for me to stay in that mindset.

“I’m a huge confidence player. I feel really good about Wimbledon – I wish there were some points on the line!”

Fritz secured his third tour-level title with Saturday’s success, having also lifted the Eastbourne trophy in 2019 and beaten Rafael Nadal in the Indian Wells final in March.

The world number 14 believes he has regained the level which saw him end Nadal’s 20-match winning streak after a frustrating period of being hampered by injury issues.

“Having a good week and winning a tournament is huge, feeling like I am back to where I was at that point,” he said.

“In general winning that match was huge because I’ve lost to the big guys a lot, so it was kind of nice to break through that.

“The worst thing you can do is look on the other side of the court and be like that’s Nadal or that’s (Novak) Djokovic.

“You have to just play the person in front of you and zone out the fact you’re playing the person you watched growing up.”

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