Wimbledon - Former champion Kvitova beats Safarova to claim spot in final

Former champion Petra Kvitova moved within one match of capturing a second Wimbledon title, ending the plucky resistance of Lucie Safarova 7-6(6) 6-1 in their all-Czech semi-final on Thursday.

Wimbledon - Former champion Kvitova beats Safarova to claim spot in final

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Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic (Reuters)

Safarova, 27, had been given little chance against her 24-year-old friend, having lost all five of their previous meetings. But the 23rd seed pulled out all the stops as the big-hitting left-handers slugged it out from the baseline in the first set.

After clinching the first set in a tiebreaker with an unstoppable forehand cross-court return, Kvitova stepped up a gear to extinguish Safarova's hopes.

Standing in the way of Kvitova's second Wimbledon crown is the winner of the second semi-final between Romania's Simona Halep, the third seed, and Canadian 20-year-old Eugenie Bouchard, seeded 13th.

Kvitova, whose Wimbledon triumph as a 21-year-old prompted nine-times singles champion Martina Navratilova to predict that the young Czech would go on to dominate the women's game, feels ready to start fulfilling expectations.

"I think these three years were really up and down. I knew that a lot of people were probably expecting something more from me," the 24-year-old told reporters.

"But on the other side, I was still in the top 10 and I did everything I could. I was practising very hard and everything ... I'm back in the final and I'm feeling well."

Bouchard, meanwhile, is a leading light among the new generation of players that have wowed the All England Club this year and reached the semi-finals of both the Australian and French Opens

Sixth seed Kvitova remains favourite for Saturday's final, but is taking nothing for granted in a tournament that has thrown up more than its fair share of surprises.

"I find her a very solid and talented player," Kvitova said of Bouchard. "She really seems confident in her game right now. She's moving very well. She's playing aggressively from near the baseline."

So, too, 27-year-old Safarova, having not lost a set en route to her first grand slam semi-final at the 37th time of asking.

"I knew that it was going to be a very tough match against her," Kvitova said of her friend. "I think she played her best tennis of the tournament."

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