Petra Kvitova and Magdalena Rybarykova, Birmingham 2018

Defending champion Petra Kvitova rallied from a set down to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova 4-6 6-1 6-2 and claim her fifth title of the season.
2-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova didn’t drop a set en route to the final, beating Johanna Konta, Daria Gavrilova, Julia Georges and Mihaela Buzarnescu. She is one of the big favorite to capture the Wimbledon trophy in 3 weeks time.

“I didn’t really expect to win here. I just played match by match, being very happy to be on the grass and the tennis court. For me, I’m surprised.”

It was also a great week for Rybarikova who defeated number 3 seed Karolina Pliskova, Kristina Mladenovic, qualifier Dalila Jakupovic and Barbora Strycova to advance to the second Premier tournament final of her career. The previous one being at the Connecticut Open in New Heaven in 2014 where she was beaten by … Petra Kvitova.

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova & Magda Rybarikova

Petra Kvitova & Magda Rybarikova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova & Magda Rybarikova

Petra Kvitova & Magda Rybarikova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Photo credit: Peter Menzel

Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos, Birmingham 2018

Winners of the Australian Open in January, Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic defeated Elise Mertens and Demi Schuurs to lift their second trophy of the year, and as a pair.

Timea Babos & Kiki Mladenovic

Timea Babos & Kiki Mladenovic

Timea Babos

Timea Babos & Kiki Mladenovic

Timea Babos & Kiki Mladenovic

Timea Babos & Kiki Mladenovic

Timea Babos & Kiki Mladenovic

Photo credit: Peter Menzel

Petra Kvitova, Birmingham 2017

2-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova suffered a career-threatening injury when she was attacked last December at her home in the Czech Republic by a knife-wielding attacker. She came back to competition at Roland Garros, where she beat Julia Boserup and lost to Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second round. (Check out the recap of my 3 days at Roland 2017 ).

And in her second tournament of the year, back to the grass courts she cherishes, she defeated Tereza Smitkova, Naomi Broady, Kristina Mladenovic, Lucie Safarova to advance to the Birmingham final.
She rallied back from a set down to defeat Ashleigh Barty 4-6 6-3 6-2.

“I was nervous. It wasn’t the normal nerves as I had before. It’s my first final after such a long time, and it was a bit difficult to handle. I struggled a lot. It’s nice when you win and you’re playing well, but most of the times the best days are when you win even if you are not playing well. So I’m happy that I was able to win it anyway.”

Well done Petra and good luck for the rest of the season!

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Photo credit: Peter Menzel

A look at the 5 warmup tournaments for Wimbledon: who is playing where and when.

Aegon Classic, Birmingham 10-16 June

Previous winners include Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King – who was Birmingham’s inaugural champion in 1982 and collected the last of her 67 Open Era singles titles here in 1983 – and more recently, Jelena Jankovic, Li Na and Maria Sharapova, who in 2004 became the only player to capture Birmingham and Wimbledon in the same year.

Prize Money: $235,000
Defending Champ: Melanie Oudin
Official site
Who is playing: Kirsten Flipkens, Laura Robson, Heather Watson, Sorana Cirstea, Sabine Lisicki

Aegon Championships, Queens 10-16 June

Andy Murray makes his comeback from the back injury that forced him to miss Roland Garros. The Scot, who reached the Wimbledon final in 2012 (l. to Federer), won the Queen’s title in 2009 (d. Blake) and 2011 (d. Tsonga).
Since its inception in 1979, there have been six different players to complete the Queen’s Club-Wimbledon title double in the same year, including John McEnroe (81, 84), Jimmy Connors (82), Boris Becker (85), Pete Sampras (95, 99), Lleyton Hewitt (2002) and Rafael Nadal (2008).

Prize Money: € 683,665
Defending Champ: Marin Cilic
Official site
Who is playing: Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Marin Cilic

Andy Murray

Check out our Queen’s 2011 recap: part 1, part 2

Gerry Weber Open, Halle 10-16 June

German veteran Tommy Haas beat Roger Federer in Halle last year to capture his 13th career title, his first since 2009. Both eliminated in the Roland Garros quarter-finals, Federer and Haas will compete in Halle again this year, and they also are going to pair up in doubles together.

Prize Money: € 683,665
Defending Champ: Tommy Haas
Official site
Who is playing: Roger Federer, Richard Gasquet, Janko Tipsarevic, Milos Raonic, Tommy Haas, Kei Nishikori

Read Mauro’s report from Halle last year on his meeting with Stefan Edberg

Topshelf Open, s-Hertogenbosch 16-22 June

Launched as an ATP tournament in 1990, it became a joint event in 1996. Champions include Martina Hingis, Kim Clijsters, Mary Pierce, Justine Henin – who won the last of her 43 titles here in 2010 -, Goran Ivanisevic, Pat Rafter and Richard Gasquet.

WTA:
Prize Money: $235,000
Defending Champ: Nadia Petrova
Who is playing: Roberta Vinci, Dominika Cibulkova, Kirsten Flipkens, Kiki Bertens, Francesca Schiavone

ATP:
Prize Money: € 410,200
Defending Champ: David Ferrer
Official site
Who is playing: David Ferrer, Stanislas Wawrinka, John Isner, Jérémy Chardy, Benoit Paire

Aegon International, Eastbourne 17-22 June

Formerly the International Women’s Open, Britain’s biggest international women’s event joined forces with the ATP World Tour to host a combined men’s and women’s tournament at Devonshire Park. In past years the men’s ATP World Tour event had been played in Nottingham.
Sunday June 16 will feature a host of legends competing in a Father’s Day tussle as former British No.1 Greg Rusedski faces off with Mark Philippoussis before they team up with former world No.1 Lindsay Davenport and two-time Wimbledon Doubles Champion Rennae Stubbs in a mixed doubles match.

WTA:
Prize money: $690,000
Defending champ: Tamira Paszek
Who is playing: Agnieszka Radwanska, Sara Errani, Li Na, Angelique Kerber, Sam Stosur, Petra Kvitova

ATP:
Prize money: € 526,060
Defending champ: Andy Roddick
Official site
Who is playing: Gilles Simon, Juan Monaco, Andreas Seppi, Fabio Fognini, Bernard Tomic