Defending champion Kvitova races into Birmingham final

Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova reacts during her semi final match against Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu

Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova reacts during her semi final match against Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu. (Reuters pic)

BIRMINGHAM: 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 favoured because she beat me before, and I think it was a very good match and we had some fun.”