June 23, 2018 / 3:05 PM / a year ago

Defending champion Kvitova races into Birmingham final

Tennis - WTA Premier - Nature Valley Classic - Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham, Britain - June 23, 2018 Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova celebrates winning her semi final match against Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

(Reuters) - Defending champion Petra Kvitova dispatched Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3 6-2 with a powerful display to reach the final at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham on Saturday.

The two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova is yet to drop a set this week as she continues her preparations for next month’s grasscourt Grand Slam.

The result was Kvitova’s 51st career victory on the surface, and she overtakes top-ranked Simona Halep with a tour-leading 36 match wins this year.

“Amazing statistics this week,” Kvitova said. “I didn’t expect that from the beginning of the season. I didn’t really start well in Australia.

“So far this season is incredible, and I really can’t imagine a better season so far.”

Up next for Kvitova is 2009 winner Magdalena Rybarikova, who returns to the final with an impressive 7-6(1) 6-4 victory over Czech Barbora Strycova.

The 29-year-old Slovakian came back from a break down in each set on the back of 24 winners over the course of one hour and 47 minutes.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match, because she’s such a tricky player and she’s amazingly talented,” Rybarikova, who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals last year, said on-court after the match.

“Maybe she was even favored because she beat me before, and I think it was a very good match and we had some fun.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Chadband

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