June 23 (Reuters) - Czech Petra Kvitova moved into the Aegon Classic semi-finals with a 6-4 7-6(5) win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic on Friday.
The seventh seed, twice Wimbledon champion, is playing in her second tournament after a lengthy layoff with a hand injury, suffered during a knife attack at her home in December.
“Both of us play really fast on this surface, the grass suits her game as well, so it was about a few points here in three, one or two key breaks in the match,” Kvitova said.
It took a second-set tiebreak and one hour 43 minutes for Kvitova to secure the win which sets up a semi-final clash with compatriot Lucie Safarova.
Safarova came through a marathon battle with Australian Daria Gavrilova, triumphing 6-7(4) 6-3 7-6(5).
Safarova saved three match-points in the deciding set and rallied to win the last four points of the third set tiebreak to end the three-hour contest on top.
“It was such an amazing fight between the both of us and I am so happy that I won,” Safarova said.
“I stayed positive until the end. I had a few opportunities but she was serving well. I just believed that I could pull it out and win it,” she added.
Later on Friday, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza takes on American Coco Vandeweghe and Australian Ashleigh Barty faces Camila Giorgi of Italy. (Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond)