Petra Kvitova, playing in her second tournament since returning from a stabbing six months ago, moved into the final of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England, on Saturday.
This is Kvitova's first grass-court final since her triumph at 2014 Wimbledon, though this significant achievement was tinged with anti-climax as Safarova quit with a right thigh strain after only eight games. The chair umpire then told Gavrilova that the replay showed the ball was in, robbing her of three match points.
Muguruza sailed through the opening set, serving well and controlling the rallies to take the last 4 games of the set, for a 6-3.
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Kvitova said that, regardless of how Sunday's final plays out, she is happy with how she's playing at this point.
"The hand is good which is the best news I could have, and I am not feeling any pain - and that's the best news", she repeated. So I'm happy that what our team thought was going to be good for the tournament is working. "I could not have imagined a better comeback".
It is only Kvitova's second tournament after seven months out of the game when she suffered appalling injuries due to a knife-wielding attacker at her home in the Czech Republic.
However she double-faulted twice when she was trying to close out the match at 5-3 in the second set.
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Kvitova admitted that the Wimbledon singles draw looks wide open in the absence of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova but, when asked if she saw herself as one of the 10 or so women with a genuine chance of winning, she said: "I don't. So this is quite a dream". But Barty gained adrenaline and self-belief from her second set success, and five games in a row from 0-1 in the final set effectively decided the outcome. She's won Wimbledon a couple of times and is unbelievable on grass court as well.
The tournament's other Grand Slam victor, Muguruza, reached the semifinals for only her third time this year and the first on grass since reaching the final of Wimbledon almost two years ago.
"It was lucky - I had been struggling from the moment I dropped serve", she admitted.
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She added that the "really really hard decision" had been made to evacuate the blocks while urgent fire safety work is completed. One shirt bearing the London Ambulance Service logo said: "We refuse to forget you".
Kvitova will have a very different sort of match against Barty, who began to find a pattern which discomforted Muguruza mid-way through the second set. "I like getting purchase with my slice on the grass, and I didn't do much wrong".