LONDON (AP) — Petra Kvitova beat fellow Czech left-hander Lucie Safarova 7-6 (6), 6-1 on Thursday to advance to the Wimbledon final and a chance to win her second title at the All England Club.
Kvitova, the only player born in the 1990s to have won a major title – here in 2011 – improved her record to 25-5 on the Wimbledon grass and she’s made at least the quarterfinals five years in a row.
“I know how (it feels) when you hold the trophy so I really want to win my second title here and I will do everything I can,” Kvitova said.
She will play the winner of the later semifinal between French Open finalist and No. 3-seeded Simona Halep of Romania and Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, the 13th-seeded player and only woman to have advanced to all three Grand Slam semifinals this year.
It was the first Grand Slam semifinal between two Czech women. It marked No. 6-seeded Kvitova’s 15th consecutive win against a left-hander and she beat 23rd-seeded Safarova – who was playing on Centre Court for the first time – for the sixth match in a row.
“I don’t have words to describe my feeling right now,” Kvitova said. “It was a tough match mentally, as well, because Lucie is a good friend of mine. We know each (other) very well off the court and on the court, as well.”
Safarova, the oldest of the four semifinalists at 27, was broken in the first game, the final two points of the game coming with two Kvitova forehand winners to an open corner. But Safarova, who had only four unforced errors in the first set and seven for the match, broke back in the fourth game, and the two stayed on serve until the tiebreaker.
With the score tied at 6-6 in the tiebreaker, Safarova’s forehand error into the net gave Kvitova her second set point, and Kvitova converted it with a running cross-court winner, pumping her fist and yelling out.
Kvitova broke Safarova, who beat five-time champion Venus Williams in the third round, in the second game of the second set on her third break-point chance, then consolidated it after two deuces in the next game to go up 3-0.
She went ahead 4-1 after saving a break point in the fifth game, broke again in the sixth game and then held her serve at love in the final game. She set up match point with an ace and clinched it on a cross-court backhand in 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Kvitova saved her best for last: up to 6-all in the tiebreaker, Safarova had won more total points, 40-39. From there, though, Kvitova won 31 of the last 48 points in the match.
“I tried to be focused from the beginning of the second set when I won the tiebreak, and really I (broke) her when she was serving for the first time and I just kept it going,” Kvitova said.
Safarova was playing in her first major semifinal and had been 4-8 at Wimbledon in eight previous tournaments, never advancing beyond the third round.
The men had the day off Thursday ahead of Friday’s semifinals when seven-time champion Roger Federer plays Canadian Milos Raonic and top-seeded Novak Djokovic plays Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov. The winners will play Sunday in the final.