Kvitova’s title defence still on track

Defending Nature Valley Classic champion Petra Kvitova is on the brink of a repeat win after beating Mihaela Buzarnescu in straight sets on Saturday.

The Czech star, who has yet to drop a set in Birmingham this week, continued her serene progress with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over her Romanian opponent.

Kvitova’s victory was her 36th of the season, more than any other player on the WTA Tour, while Sunday’s final will be her fifth of the season.

“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.”

Standing between Kvitova and her second-straight Birmingham title is unseeded Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova, who was a 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 winner over Barbora Strycova in the day’s other semi-final.

Already responsible for eliminating third seed Karolina Pliskova, Rybarikova will be hoping for another upset victory when she faces the defending champion on Sunday.

“[Magdalena and I] have been practicing here this week, we always practice when we’re in tournaments together,” Kvitova said. “We’re good friends, so it’ll be a fun final. I remember our last meeting was in New Haven in a final as well.

“I know definitely she likes to play on the grass, she reached the semifinals last year during Wimbledon. So it’ll be fun to watch and fun to play, hopefully.”

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