By Ossian Shine
LONDON (Reuters) – If ever less really was more, it would appear to be the case at Wimbledon for twice-champion Petra Kvitova.
The Czech had not played a tennis match since pulling out of the French Open in May with an arm injury, but on Saturday handily beat Poland’s Magda Linette 6-3 6-2 to reach the fourth round.
She’s not really practising, and not really stressing about her progress, and that seems to be the perfect formula as she eases through the draw.
“Every match gets better,” Kvitova smiled. “Matches are the best practice… Now my mind, it’s more focusing on the arm than maybe on the tennis.
“I’m pretty confident, I have a day off tomorrow. Of course, as I mentioned already many times before, the pain can come in the forearm and I have to retire.
“I’m really taking it very positive that I finished the match with the win, of course. That’s really important for me. I’m not really looking too ahead. I’m glad that I’m able to find a good performance during the match. I think when I play longer, it’s just getting better.”
Next up for the 29-year-old Kvitova, champion here in 2011 and 2014, is a fourth-round clash with either American ninth seed Sloane Stephens or British 19th seed Jo Konta.
“Jo, I think for her, the grass is really going in the good way when she’s playing kind of flat shots from both sides, especially from the backhand. I think she likes to play on the grass. Of course, the crowd will be on her side,” Kvitova said wistfully.
“I little bit know what she’s playing, what she’s able to do. Will be difficult match, for sure.
“The same with Sloane. She’s playing a little bit different. She’s a really great mover on the court.”
Twice Wimbledon champion before a knife-wielding man sliced her playing left hand in a robbery around Christmas 2016, Kvitova knows the mental strength it takes to succeed at a Grand Slam, and knows what she needs to do in what she describes as her ‘second career’.
“If I’m just pushing the balls there, I don’t think that I do have any big chance. With the strokes which I play today, even from the returns already was the key of it. I am going to try my best to continue this kind of performance.”
(Reporting by Ossian Shine, Editing by Ed Osmond)