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Kvitova ‘finds rhythm’ ahead of French Open

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World number three Petra Kvitova said she had found her rhythm on clay after winning her second WTA title of the season in Stuttgart on Sunday, a month before the start of the French Open.

The Czech star beat Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) in the final, succeeding compatriot Karolina Pliskova as champion at the clay-court event.

A two-time Wimbledon champion and runner-up at the Australian Open in January, Kvitova will be chasing her third career major at Roland Garros next month, and said she had found her clay court feet with the triumph in Stuttgart.

Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova kisses the trophy as she celebrates victory over Estonia's Anett Kontaveit in their final match at the WTA Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany (THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP)

Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova kisses the trophy as she celebrates victory over Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit in their final match at the WTA Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany (THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP)

“It was tougher at the beginning of the week when I played my first and second match. I said that I would need a bit more matches to get used to the clay,” said Kvitova whose best run at Roland Garros was a semi-final spot in 2012.

“Since then I think I’ve really found a good rhythm. There were ups and downs today as well, and I really had to push myself to play more aggressively.

“I was glad to hit a forehand winner down the line on match point.”

Kvitova battled through a tough second set to beat eighth seed Kontaveit, who reached the final on a walkover after world number one Naomi Osaka pulled out of the semi-final with an abdominal injury on Saturday.

Kontaveit said that Kvitova was a “role model” after the final, but Czech joked that she didn’t feel like one.

“I don’t think anyone would want to copy the way I move,” she laughed.

Kvitova thanked the fans as well as her coaches who did not join her in Stuttgart this week.

“It was amazing to see the arena full every day,” she said. “I always like to come back to Stuttgart.”

“My coaches were not actually here, so I’m looking forward to seeing them again.”

Having won the Sydney International in January, Kvitova is the first woman to win two titles in 2019, after all of the first 18 WTA competitions of the year were won by different players.

“I was just glad to be in the final, because I have never got past the semi-finals here,” said Kvitova. “Winning the title is a big bonus.” (Agence France-Presse)

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