Defending champion Petra Kvitova moves into second round at Wimbledon

 

Petra Kvitova had to come from behind to make a winning start to the defence of her Wimbledon title on Centre Court.

The 22-year-old Czech fell an early break down against Uzbekistan's world number 96 Akgul Amanmuradova and was in trouble at 4-2 adrift in the first set, but then pieced together six straight games and went on to earn a 6-4 6-4 victory.

The match was interrupted by the first showers of the fortnight during the second set but Kvitova was by that stage approaching the winning line.

With father Jiri and mother Pavla watching from the Royal Box, Kvitova savoured the occasion of returning to the scene where she beat Maria Sharapova 12 months ago to secure her first grand slam title.

The performance from the left-hander may not have been entirely convincing, but the objective was at least achieved.

She dropped her opening service game and Amanmuradova's consistent serving kept her ahead for a while.

But then Kvitova's extra class began to tell, and breaks in the seventh and ninth games turned the set around in the fourth seed's favour.

Kvitova asserted herself with a further break of Amanmuradova's serve in the opening game of the second set, and held on her own delivery to win that sixth game in a row.

At six foot, Kvitova is among the taller players in the women's game, but remarkably Amanmuradova has a height advantage of three inches over her.

She has never been able to make that count at Wimbledon though, losing in the first round now in all five of her appearances, having made her debut in 2008.

The rain delay, lasting half an hour, forced the players to take shelter and the court covers to go on.

But Kvitova returned to play a love service game and clinch a second-round tussle against either Britain's Elena Baltacha or Italian Karin Knapp.

PA

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