The Insider Wrap is a recap of everything you need to know from the week that was. At the year's first grass-court WTA 500 event, Petra Kvitova reigned supreme in Berlin, while Jelena Ostapenko won on the lawns of Birmingham.
Player of the Week: Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova is a fearsome opponent for anyone she plays, but she is particularly dangerous when you put her on a grass court at a Hologic WTA Tour event. Kvitova proved it again at the WTA 500 bett1open in Berlin, where she captured her sixth grass-court title -- and 31st overall.
Kvitova, who won Wimbledon titles in 2011 and 2014, ran through the draw without the loss of a set. Four of her five wins during the week came over Top 25 opposition, including a quarterfinal victory against No.4 Caroline Garcia, which was Kvitova's first Top 10 win on grass since 2011.
Despite many successes at tour-level grass-court events in the past few years, Kvitova hasn't reached a Wimbledon quarterfinal since her title run in 2014. With two titles this year in her pocket and back inside the Top 10, Kvitova might have the momentum to post another memorable performance at SW19 once again.
The 31st means just as much as the first. Thank you all for believing in me and staying with me on this journey. Berlin, you were as beautiful as your grass courts 🙏❤️🏆@bett1open pic.twitter.com/rJSEesVflk— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) June 25, 2023
Battler of the Week: Jelena Ostapenko
Jelena Ostapenko had an expectedly dramatic trip through the WTA 250 Rothesay Classic draw in Birmingham. She needed three sets in each of her first four matches, including coming back from a break down in the third set of a second-round match against Venus Williams.
Battle-tested after that grueling run to the final, Ostapenko took down No.1 seed Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets to clinch her sixth career title and first of the year. Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion and a former Wimbledon semifinalist, moves deeper into the grass-court swing with renewed confidence.
Ostapenko credited her ability to "fight for every single point, and to play until the very last point, because some matches I was down, but I managed to win them. ... That’s probably the key, which brought me the title here."
Donna Vekic: The Croatian returns to the Top 20 after making her 12th career singles final in Berlin. Vekic beat two Top 10 players in a single tournament for the third time in her career -- this past week, she ousted reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and Maria Sakkari.
Barbora Krejcikova: After rolling to the Birmingham singles final without the loss of a set, Krejcikova was stopped by Ostapenko. However, Krejcikova added the doubles title (alongside Marta Kostyuk) to her singles runner-up showing, and she is back inside the Top 10 of the singles rankings for the first time in over a year.
Elina Avanesyan: Losing in qualifying seems to spur this 20-year-old on to even stronger performances. At Roland Garros, Avanesyan became the first lucky loser to reach a Grand Slam Round of 16 since 1993. And now this past week, she reached the Berlin quarterfinals as a lucky loser as well. Avanesyan has seen her ranking rise from No.134 to No.64 in the last month alone.
Zhu Lin: After a hot start to the year, when she reached the Australian Open Round of 16 and won her first title at Hua Hin, Zhu had cooled off, going 1-5 in her past six matches. But she regained her form in Birmingham, reaching the semifinals to return to her career-high ranking of No.33.
Venus Williams: Never count out the five-time Wimbledon champion on a grass court. The 43-year-old ousted Camila Giorgi via a third-set tiebreak in the first round of Birmingham, and she gave eventual champion Ostapenko a scare in the second round as well.
Shot of the Week
Speaking of Williams, how about this backhand passing winner?
6: Petra Kvitova has now won six consecutive WTA tournament finals on grass, with her last defeat in a grass-court final coming at 2011 Eastbourne against Marion Bartoli. Two weeks after that loss, Kvitova won her first Wimbledon title.
4: Donna Vekic has reached four grass-court finals in the past decade. Only Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber and Belinda Bencic have made more grass-court WTA finals in the last ten years than Vekic.
75.8% - Among current players, only Venus Williams (81.7%) has a higher winning percentage on grass court in WTA events than Petra Kvitova (75.8%). Green.#bett1open | @WTA @WTA_insider @bett1open pic.twitter.com/tHnIDBvQCN— OptaAce (@OptaAce) June 24, 2023
10: Barbora Krejcikova is 10-1 in Hologic WTA Tour semifinals during her career. She has converted six of those finals into titles, including at WTA 1000 Dubai earlier this year.
4: After trailing Magdalena Frech in the Birmingham quarterfinals by 6-4, 4-0, Jelena Ostapenko saved four break points spanning her next three service games while turning that set around. Ostapenko eventually won that match 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 on her way to the title.
Photo of the Week
World No.8 Maria Sakkari served her way into the bett1open semifinals for the second year in a row.
The grass-court swing continues with two events this week. The WTA 500 Rothesay International takes place in Eastbourne, Great Britain with seven of the world's Top 10 players, including Caroline Garcia, Ons Jabeur and Coco Gauff.
And at the WTA 250 Bad Homburg Open in Bad Homburg, Germany, World No.1 Iga Swiatek will play her first grass-court event of the year, with Wimbledon looming one week away.