Former world No. 2 Petra Kvitova insisted the expected a very tough battle versus Beatriz Haddad Maia and noted she expects the same when she meets Jelena Ostapenko in the Eastbourne final. On Friday, Kvitova defeated Haddad Maia 7-6 (5) 6-4 in the Eastbourne semifinal.
After winning back-to-back grass titles in Nottingham and Birmingham, Haddad Maia set her eyes on the Eastbourne title. Kvitova, a former Wimbledon champion, came out determined to end Haddad Maia's run and hand the Brazilian her first loss this grass season.
"It was a tough one, that’s what I expected," Kvitova said afterward. "It was about the serve, that was a key to the tiebreak in the first set and the early break in the second. Just one break in the whole match, so it was really a grass game today."
Kvitova on facing Ostapenko
Ostapenko meant business on Friday as she ousted Camila Giorgi 6-2 6-2 to reach the final.
Last year, Ostapenko lifted her maiden Eastbourne title. Ostapenko clearly feels very comfortable on grass courts of Eastbourne and now she is a win away from defending her title at the tournament. "For me, a final after almost a year [without one] will be great, so I’m glad already," Kvitova said.
"Jelena loves to play here, obviously, we saw it, she has a really great game for grass. It will be, again, about the serve, return, and a few shots from the beginning." Kvitova and Ostapenko will be going head-to-head for the ninth time when they meet in the Eastbourne final.
The head-to-head between the two stands at 4-4. Only one of those eight meetings came on grass. In 2016, Ostapenko defeated Kvitova on the grass courts of Birmingham. This Saturday, Kvitova will be looking for her grass win over Ostapenko.
Kvitova traditionally plays well on grass and she is aiming to lift her first title of the year this week.