Kvitova relishes busy US Open build-up

LOS ANGELES: Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is relishing the prospect of a jam-packed North American schedule, starting this week in Stanford, California. The Czech was sidelined for six months after a knife-wielding burglar at her home left her with severe left hand injuries that threatened her career.

She returned in May at the French Open, losing in the second round. After a tournament win in Birmingham, she fell in the second-round at Wimbledon as well, where she had to call for medical assistance in her three-set loss to Madison Brengle. “I was really trying hard to play Wimbledon and suddenly I was there and I wasn’t feeling the best,” Kvitova said this week as she prepared to launch her Stanford campaign.
“Everything together, physically, emotionally, mentally, it was just too much. The body just responded,” Kvitova said.
After Wimbledon, she pulled out of a tournament in Bastad, but now she says she’s healthy and ready to “enjoy the rest of the season.”
She has booked herself for five tournaments in North America.
Seeded second, Kvitova enjoyed a first-round bye and will kick off her ambitious August against Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Italian Francesca Schiavone.
In other first-round matches on Tuesday, sixth-seeded American CoCo Vandeweghe advanced when Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic, who entered the tournament nursing a shoulder injury, retired after losing the first set 6-2.
“It was disappointing to have a retirement today, but I thought I was playing well to get to the point of winning the first set,” Vandeweghe said.
Eighth-seeded American CiCi Bellis breezed past France’s Alize Cornet 6-3, 6-2.
Bellis, 18 and ranked 44th in the world, is playing her hometown tournament for a third time — having received wildcards twice before.
She broke Cornet to open the match and never trailed, braking her again to seal it when the French player pushed a backhand long.
Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, the top seed, opens her campaign on Wednesday with a second-round meeting against American teenager Kayla Day.
WTA Stanford results
First round: Caroline Dolehide (USA) bt Naomi Osaka (JPN) 6-4, 6-2; CoCo Vandeweghe (USA x6) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO) 6-2, 0-0 retired; Alison Riske (USA) bt Magda Linette (POL) 6-2, 6-4; CiCi Bellis (USA x8) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-3, 6-2; Veronica Cepede (PAR) bt Kristie Ahn (USA) 2-6, 7-5, 6-1; Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) bt Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 6-3, 6-4