Kvitova wins after return from knife attack

by

May 29, 2017
Petra Kvitova. (AP Photo)

PARIS (AP):

Sweat-soaked and still wearing her match outfit, Petra Kvitova was looking for someone to hug as she wandered into the players' lounge in the French Open's main stadium shortly after leaving the court yesterday.

Less than six months after a knife attack at her home, two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova was back competing, winning the first match of her comeback 6-3, 6-2 at Roland Garros against 86th-ranked Julia Boserup of the United States.

"I'm happy with the game, of course," Kvitova said, "but I mean, it wasn't really about the game."

Indeed, just being there under a cloud-filled sky at Court Philippe Chatrier was a triumph of sorts for Kvitova, who needed surgery on her left hand the one she uses to hold her racket after being stabbed by an intruder in the Czech Republic in late December. She was undecided until late last week whether to even try to play in the French Open.

"For us, it's amazing. It's [a]miracle. Not even me or Petra thought she could be ready to come back so soon," said her coach, Jiri Novak. "The prognosis was, let's just say, not optimistic."

Kvitova wound up compiling the match's first 10 winners and finished with a 31-9 edge in that category. She took 15 of the first 20 points en route to a 3-0 lead and never really faced a whole lot of resistance, other than when she saved three break points the only ones she had to deal with in the match while ahead 3-1.

When it was over, Kvitova dropped her racket near the baseline and removed her blue headband. As she walked to the net for a handshake, her eyes welled with tears.

"We are happy that she is healthy. The hand is good and also the head," her brother Jiri said. "Mentally, she is back."

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