Tennis-Kvitova surges past Ostapenko to claim Eastbourne crown, Fritz wins men's title


Tennis - Eastbourne International - Devonshire Park Lawn Tennis Club, Eastbourne, Britain - June 25, 2022 Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova poses with the trophy after winning the Eastbourne International women's final against Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

(Reuters) -Twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova geared up for this year's tournament in style as she sailed past former Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 6-2 to capture the WTA 500 Eastbourne International crown on Saturday.

It was a 29th career title and the first in more than a year for the 32-year-old Czech as she underlined her status as an outside contender for Wimbledon, which begins on Monday.

Kvitova was flawless on serve and surged into an early lead, racking up 18 winners on the back of some superb ball-striking against Latvian defending champion Ostapenko, who was on a nine-match winning streak in Eastbourne.

"My serve was working, but still I needed some breaks, or I'm playing a tiebreak, which is always 50-50," said Kvitova.

"I know that Jelena is playing well here on grass, the defending champion, so I was really prepared for that fast, aggressive game which she really played."

The former world number two was truly tested only once during the 77-minute encounter, saving five break points in a marathon 12-minute game at 2-1 in the second set.

Wimbledon 25th seed Kvitova takes on Italian Jasmine Paolini in the first round at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, while 12th seed Ostapenko faces France's Oceane Dodin.

However, Ostapenko cast doubt on her fitness ahead of that encounter after she pulled out of the Eastbourne doubles final with a right toe injury.

Ostapenko and her partner Lyudmyla Kichenok were due to face Aleksandra Krunic and Magda Linette, who were crowned champions following the walkover.

In the men's final, American Taylor Fritz clinched his second title of the year with a hard-fought 6-2 6-7(4) 7-6(4) win over compatriot Maxime Cressy in the final of the ATP 250 event.

Third seed Fritz, who also lifted the trophy in 2019, started brightly and took advantage of Cressy's shaky serve, breaking the 25-year-old twice in the opening stages to take the first set.

The two big servers were neck-and-neck for much of the second set before Cressy raised his game in the tiebreak, relying on his trusted net play to force a decider.

The more seasoned Fritz, however, came up trumps when it mattered them most, edging Cressy in the third set breaker to add to his Indian Wells title from March and boost his chances at Wimbledon.

Fritz, seeded 11th at the grasscourt major, goes up against Lorenzo Musetti of Italy in the first round, while Cressy will be hoping to pull off an upset against world number nine Felix Auger-Aliassime.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal and Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris, Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)

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