HAND WEAK, KVITOVA STILL FA­VORED

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Quick Hits -

Pe­tra Kvitova still has not re­gained full strength in her left hand, the one she uses to swing a ten­nis racket so well that she won Wim­ble­don twice — and the one that was stabbed by an in­truder at her home in the Czech Repub­lic late last year.

Just seven months af­ter that at­tack, Kvitova some­how car­ries the sta­tus of the clos­est thing to a fa­vorite at the All Eng­land Club, where play in the grass-court Grand Slam tour­na­ment be­gins Mon­day.

Not that she’s all that con­cerned, un­der­stand­ably, with oth­ers’ thoughts about whether she can add to the tro­phies she clutched at Wim­ble­don in 2011 and 2014 .

“I don’t see it like that,” Kvitova said in an email to The As­so­ci­ated Press.

“I am just happy to be back on the court and that’s it,” she said. “I will be fo­cus­ing on my­self and not think­ing any fur­ther than my first match.”

Sim­ply com­pet­ing these days is an ac­com­plish­ment in it­self for some­one who ini­tially was told there was a pos­si­bil­ity it might never hap­pen again. All five fin­gers on her left hand were in­jured in the late De­cem­ber knif­ing, and she needed surgery.

The 27-year-old Kvitova, who has been ranked as high as No. 2 and is seeded 11th at Wim­ble­don, only be­gan prac­tic­ing a cou­ple of weeks be­fore the French Open started in May. She made a last-minute de­ci­sion to en­ter the clay-court ma­jor and wound up win­ning her open­ing match, then los­ing her next.

In her comeback’s sec­ond tour­na­ment, last week on grass at Birm­ing­ham, Eng­land, Kvitova earned the ti­tle, beat­ing Ash­leigh Barty 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the fi­nal with the help of 13 aces.

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