Defending Birmingham Champion Petra Kvitova Back in the Final
(June 23, 2018) Defending champion Petra Kvitova will take on 2009 winner Magdalena Rybarikova in Sunday’s Nature Valley Classic singles final at the Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham.
Rybarikova defeated Barbora Strycova 7-6(1) 6-4 on Saturday and Kvitova followed with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3 6-2.
Kvitova and Rybarikova were the only two former champions in the 32-player singles draw.
In the tournament’s 38-year history, only King, Shriver, Navratilova, Zina Garrison, Natalie Tauziat and Sharapova have won the tournament twice. Kvitova would become the first player since Maria Sharapova in 2004 and 2005 to lift the Maud Watson Trophy in back-to-back years, a feat only three other players – King, Shriver, Lori McNeil – have achieved.
“I think she (Rybarikova) is a different kind of player on the grass,” said Kvitova. “Definitely she showed in the result last year at Wimbledon as well here. She likes to mix the game a lot, approaching to the net, playing volleys, playing slice. That’s kind of great to have different opponents with different style that you can be really prepare for the next matches. I’m thinking positive. It’s the final, so I like playing final.”
Rybarikova and Kvitova are good friends off the court and Rybarikova said that while she was looking forward to being on court with Kvitova, she was well aware of the challenge facing her. “Petra is really one of my best friends also on tour. She’s really amazing girl. We know each other so long. It’s going to be quite funny to play her,” said Rybarikova.
“Petra, when she’s on fire, you can go shake her hand and say, ‘Okay, I just want to leave from here’. She plays absolutely amazing. For me, Petra is one of the best players when she is playing really on fire. So we will see how it’s going to be her day tomorrow. Hopefully she is not going to be on fire!”
“I think it will be fun for both of us,” Kvitova said. “We are friends. We are watching the football every night. We know each other pretty long already. We spend some years on the tour together. I think we kind of grew in the rankings together. We played some doubles, so it was always being fun. She’s a fun girl. She’s playing fun game on the grass as well, tricky game. We practice here once as well. It will be nice. I think it’s nice to see someone who you are friends with in the final.”
The two-time Wimbledon champion said that she has surprised even herself this week. “When I was practicing before coming here, I couldn’t really imagine to be here all week. But from the first round, I really felt relaxed. 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.”
NATURE VALLEY CLASSIC – BIRMINGHAM – BIRMINGHAM, UK
JUNE 18 – 24, 2018
RESULTS – JUNE 23, 2018
Singles – Semifinals
 P. Kvitova (CZE) d M. Buzarnescu (ROU) 63 62
M. Rybarikova (SVK) d B. Strycova (CZE) 76(1) 64
Doubles – Semifinals
 T. Babos (HUN) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) d  B. Krejcikova (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) 75 76(6)
E. Mertens (BEL) / D. Schuurs (NED) d N. Melichar (USA) / K. Peschke (CZE) 63 26 10-7
ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018
ANN JONES CENTRE COURT start 1:30 pm
Singles Final – M. Rybarikova (SVK) vs  P. Kvitova (CZE)
Doubles Final –  T. Babos (HUN) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs E. Mertens (BEL) / D. Schuurs (NED)