Tennis

'Fairy tale' over for Petra Kvitova

When Petra Kvitova returned to competition after six months out recovering from a horrific knife attack, the idea of her winning a third Wimbledon title was talked of as a "fairy tale".

But there was no happy ending for the Czech, whose bid to repeat her triumphs in 2011 and 2014 ended with a second-round loss to 95th-ranked American Madison Brengle yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Kvitova was listed as one of the tournament favourites, largely due to her triumph in Birmingham last month in her second tournament back after an attacker, in her home in the Czech Republic, left her with badly damaged tendons in her left hand.

But the player, who needed four hours of surgery and spent three months without even touching a racket, says she never bought into the hype and conceded she had struggled physically in her 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 loss to Brengle.

"My body just didn't really do the best, unfortunately," said Kvitova, who on top of having her blood pressure taken also required an on-court examination by a doctor after complaining of breathing difficulties in the third set.

"But I was really trying. I fight, but I could just not breathe and I was feeling a bit sick.

"That sometimes happens. Unfortunately it happened at Wimbledon, which is not nice. It was just tough for me to still have the energy to play my aggressive game."

Kvitova said it proved the bookmakers had been wrong.

She added that there is just no substitute for the time that she had been out of the game.

She said: "The six months is missing. I need to play more matches. I need to practise a lot, as well."

Now Kvitova is hoping to get back to her traditional preparation schedule ahead of August's US Open.

The 27-year-old said: "It was a difficult six months. It took a lot of energy, as well, and emotionally was tough.

"But now, I should practise as I did before. I still probably will have an eye on the hand but otherwise I think it's getting better.

"I need to see the hand specialist once again."

A hugely popular personality on the women's tour, Kvitova was able to put her loss in perspective.

"No one knows how hard I had to work to be back, so probably that makes it feel more disappointing than normally it is," she said.

Brengle, who has the distinction of being the only player to have beaten Serena Williams in 2017, will face French 21st seed Caroline Garcis for a spot in the last 16 today. - WIRE SERVICES

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