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Petra Kvitova claims Eastbourne title with comfortable win over Jelena Ostapenko

Petra Kvitova clinched the Eastbourne title (Adam Davy/PA)
Petra Kvitova clinched the Eastbourne title (Adam Davy/PA)

Petra Kvitova clinched the Eastbourne singles title for the first time with a dominant straight-sets victory over defending champion Jelena Ostapenko at the Rothesay International.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova, who lost the 2011 final to Marion Bartoli, controlled a one-sided encounter from the outset en route to triumphing 6-3 6-2 in just an hour and 17 minutes.

Eighth seed Ostapenko had previously not dropped a set all week at Devonshire Park but struggled to deal with the Czech’s booming serve and blistering forehand during an error-strewn display.

World number 14 Taylor Fritz later edged his all-American clash with Maxime Cressy to claim the men’s singles title in dramatic fashion.

The 24-year-old regained the crown he won in 2019 following a nail-biting tie-break decider, winning 6-2 6-7 (4) 7-6 (4) in two hours and 17 minutes.

Following her victory, 32-year-old Kvitova said on court: “I had already experienced losing in a final (in 2011), so I guess I am lucky. It was a tough match.

“Playing on the grass is very special for me, especially when you step onto a beautiful court such as here.

“It’s really nice to play in front of the people again; in Corona it was a really tough time, it’s such a better feeling.”

Victory for 14th seed Kvitova brought a 29th career singles title and a big confidence boost ahead of a first-round Wimbledon meeting with Italian Jasmine Paolini.

The last player to win at Eastbourne and go on to triumph at the All England Club in the same year was the late Czech player Jana Novotna in 1998.

Asked about her compatriot, who died at the age of 49 in 2017, Kvitova said: “It’s always nice to think about Jana, of course.

Jana Novotna
Jana Novotna was the last player to follow up Eastbourne glory with success at Wimbledon (Neil Munns/PA)

“She had so many great matches, not only here but in Wimbledon as well.

“I’m glad that we are able to play such a great event as here. It’s the best preparation for Wimbledon.”

Former world number two Kvitova swiftly bounced back from finishing runner-up here to Bartoli 11 years ago by claiming the first of her two Wimbledon titles.

The powerful left-hander never looked in any danger of further disappointment in East Sussex as she raced out of the blocks to establish a 3-0 lead against the off-colour Ostapenko.

She secured break-point opportunities in each of the Latvian’s first-set service games and was not severely tested until the fourth game of the second when she resiliently saved five break points to maintain her stranglehold on the match.

Jelena Ostapenko
Jelena Ostapenko was not at her best in Saturday’s final (Adam Davy/PA)

Ostapenko later withdrew from the women’s doubles final due to a toe injury on her right foot, handing the title to Serbian Aleksandra Krunic and Poland’s Magda Linette.

Despite that issue and her singles final defeat, the 25-year-old – who had been partnering Ukrainian Lyudmyla Kichenok – was pleased with her overall performance on the south coast.

“She played really well, so congrats,” the 2017 French Open champion, who has been drawn to play France’s Oceane Dodin at Wimbledon, said of Kvitova.

“Of course for me it was not the result I wanted, but in general I have to take the positive out of this week because I think I played some great tennis, even though today didn’t go my way.

“I always love to come here and hopefully next week I will also play well.”

Taylor Fritz overcame fellow American Maxime Cressy in three sets
Taylor Fritz overcame fellow American Maxime Cressy in three sets (Adam Davy/PA)

In Saturday’s second final on Centre Court, Cressy was unable to build on impressive victories over British players Dan Evans, Cameron Norrie and Jack Draper as Fritz collected his third tour-level title and second at this venue.

The Indian Wells champion is brimming with belief ahead of Wimbledon, where he is seeded 11th and begins against Italian Lorenzo Musetti.

“There’s something about this place, it’s where I won my first title,” Fritz said on court.

“When I got here, I already felt like I was playing so much better than I was before just being here, so this place always has a really special spot in my heart.

“My grass-court season wasn’t going great before I came here. It feels great to have this confidence, I’ve played really well all week and going into Wimbledon I feel good.”