Jelena Ostapenko and Petra Kvitova warm up for Wimbledon with grass court wins
Jelena Ostapenko won her second title on grass by beating Barbora Krejcikova in the final of the Rothesay Classic in Birmingham.
In a battle between the top two seeds, it was the second seed who emerged victorious, with Ostapenko triumphing 7-6 (8), 6-4. It was the Latvian’s first title since Dubai last February and her first on grass since Eastbourne in 2021.
Meanwhile, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova defeated Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-2, 7-6(6) on Sunday to claim the German Open title and confirm her form on grass just over a week before the Grand Slam in London.
In Birmingham, Ostapenko secured a very tight first set with her fourth set point in the tiebreak after saving a chance for Krejcikova and was close to winning 5-1 in the second set.
Czech Krejcikova, who will return to the top 10 on Monday, threatened a comeback and won three games in a row but Ostapenko made it across the finish line.
“She’s a really great player and I congratulate her and her team,” said the 26-year-old, who has survived several close duels this week.
“From 5-1 to 5-4 I was really close but then I kind of made it and I’m really, really happy about that. I fought in every match. I played five great matches, this was the only straight set match. It’s great preparation for Wimbledon and there are still a few things I can do better.”
Krejcikova, playing her first final on grass, didn’t drop a set until the final and felt losing the tiebreak in the first set was crucial to the outcome.
“She’s playing well,” said the top seed. “I’m disappointed, but that’s tennis. (The tie break) was maybe the key to the game because when you play the first set for so long and you’re up, down, up, down the whole time, I was very unlucky.
“I definitely had a great week. It was really nice to be here, I really enjoyed it. There is something special about playing on a center court and enjoying the support. Definitely looking forward to coming back.”
Over in Germany, 33-year-old Czech Vkitova – who also beat Vekic en route to victory at the Miami Open this year – claimed her 31st career title.
The left-hander appeared perfectly relaxed on the surface as she clinched her sixth grass title, more than any other active WTA player, serving as a warning to her rivals ahead of Wimbledon.
It is the first time since 2019 that Kvitova has won multiple titles in a single season and she has now won 12 of her last 13 games on grass, dating back to her title run at Eastbourne last season.
“I love grass, I love you,” Kvitova said in front of a thinning crowd at the Steffi Graf Stadium.
“I have to congratulate Donna heartily. You played fantastic tennis. Not just in the final, but all week. “It was exhausting yesterday and today,” she said.
Kvitova and Vekic had played twice on Saturday after a rain delay on Friday, but it was the Czech who didn’t lose a set in the entire tournament.
She was too strong for the Croatian in the first set while the 26-year-old struggled with her forehand.
Kvitova was trailing at the start of the second set but fought back from 5-3 and improved to 6-5 with an ace.
Vekic, who has shot up the rankings from 69th to 23rd this season after a place in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and a title in Monterrey, forced a tiebreak.
However, she was hit with a thunderous forehand by Kvitova on the first match point.
PA and Reuters