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Tennis Update • Petra Kvitova Reacts To Arrest of Stabbing Suspect • Miracle Recovery Story • Great Champion

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic plays Lara Arruabarrena of Spain during their women’s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 30 May 2018. EPA-EFE/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO

 

By Richard Pagliaro

 

Petra Kvitova can’t clench her fist, but won’t stop fighting.

 

Kvitova crushed Lara Arruabarrena, 6-0, 6-4, stretching her winning streak to 13 matches powering into the Roland Garros third round.

 

The left-handed Kvitova, who warmed up for Paris sweeping successive clay-court titles in Prague and Madrid, raised her record to a WTA-best 32-6. The 28-year-old Czech will meet the dangerous Anett Kontaveit for a place in the round of 16.

 

The Czech media reports police arrested a suspect in the December, 2016 stabbing attack of Kvitova in her home in Prostějov. Kvitova suffered severe stab wounds to her left hand fighting off the attacker. Her injuries required a three-hour plus surgery in December, 2016 to repair ligament and tendon damage.

 

The 2012 French Open semifinalist told Tennis Channel’s Jon Wertheim she’s pleased police have made an arrest, but cautioned there’s still “a long way to finish the story.”

 

“Definitely, it’s great news,” Kvitova told Tennis Channel. “It’s great news. (There’s a) long way to finish the story so I’m still down to earth and not really jumping high. I will be happiest when the story will end. I’m happy how I handled it and how I’m still handling it.”

 

Kvitova’s inspired comeback began in Paris last May. Though she only practiced a few weeks before the 2017 French Open and lacked full feeling in two fingers, Kvitova moved well, struck with ambition and made it to the second round.

 

Playing just her second tournament after the attack, Kvitova claimed her 20th career WTA title with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Australian Ashleigh Barty in the Birmingham final last June.

 

“You an inspiration and a champion,” Barty said to Kvitova during the Birmingham trophy ceremony. “We love you and we missed you and we’re glad to have you back on court.”

 

Conceding her racquet hand will never regain full strength, Kvitova is focused on possibilities rather than limitations.

 

“I really didn’t know how the hand would react to playing tennis and even if I could hold the racket,” Kvitova told Reuters. “I was just working hard, being patient and being positive about it. I really didn’t know how everything would turn out.

 

“The hand will never be 100 per cent again. The last part of the fingers, I can’t move them in… I can’t do a fist pump but, the last 12 months have been great and I am not complaining at all.”

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic plays Lara Arruabarrena of Spain during their women’s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 30 May 2018. EPA-EFE/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO

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