Calf injury brakes Kvitova’s French Open momentum

PRAGUE (Reuters) – Petra Kvitova heads into the French Open with two titles under her belt this year but a calf injury in a tournament tune-up match this week has hit the twice Wimbledon champion’s momentum.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2019 Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova in action during her third round match against Greece’s Maria Sakkari REUTERS/Matteo Ciambelli

The 29-year-old Kvitova was forced to retire from the last major warm-up before Roland Garros with a left calf injury after trailing Greece’s Maria Sakkari 7-5 5-7 4-0 on Thursday in the third round of the Italian Open in Rome.

Kvitova’s spokeswoman told Reuters in an email that the Czech still plans to play at the French Open.

“It was a left calf injury, but she is hopeful that it’s nothing serious – (it) was a tough schedule with the rain and two matches on one day in Rome,” said the spokeswoman.

Kvitova had earlier thrashed Yulia Putintseva 6-0 6-1 but had to return to the court after Wednesday’s washout.

Before Rome, Kvitova appeared well positioned for a run at a first title at the clay court tournament at Roland Garros beginning on May 26.

While the left-hander only made it past the last 16 at the French Open when she reached the semi finals in 2012, she boasts a 27-7 record on the WTA circuit this year with two titles and appearances in four finals.

The Czech, who lost in the final at this year’s Australian Open to Japan’s Naomi Osaka, had said before the Rome tournament that she was recovering from a recent abdominal injury as she looked to get on track for the French Open.

Kvitova, the world number five, returned to professional tennis in May 2017 after recovering from severe wounds to her left playing hand as she struggled with an intruder in her flat during a December 2016 attack.

She crowned her comeback 18 months after the attack with her first final appearance at the 2019 Australian Open as well as victories in Stuttgart and Sydney.

Reporting by Robert Muller; Writing by Michael Kahn; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Ken Ferris

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