Two-time champion Petra Kvitova ousted Sweden's Johanna Larsson in straight sets in an emotional return to Wimbledon.
WTA Staff

LONDON, Great Britain - With an ace on match point, No.11 seed Petra Kvitova made a winning return to Centre Court at Wimbledon on Monday, ousting Sweden's Johanna Larsson in the first round at Wimbledon, 6-3, 6-4.

Kvitova entered Centre Court to warm applause, and did look the part of a two-time champion playing a woman who had never won a match in six previous trips to the All-England Club for much of the 84-minute encounter.

"It was very special, I have to say," Kvitova said. "When we came on the court, I know British crowd, but today I feel a little bit different. I mean, they scream a little bit more than they normally do. It was very special for me to feel the energy from the crowd again. It was through the match all the time.

"It was beautiful to be back on the court playing my game, on the beautiful Centre Court, of course. I couldn't wish [for] more."

Cracking seven aces and 31 winners, Kvitova was the overt aggressor in the match - as Larsson struck just eight winners herself - and broke serve twice in each set.

However, she did not have things entirely her own way - as the Swede broke in the first game of the match - helped in part by three double faults off the Czech's racquet - and held serve to take an early 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, Kvitova won five of the next six games to move from a break down to a break up, and dug out of 0-40 in the ninth game to pocket the opener in just over 30 minutes.

"In the warmup I felt okay. I didn't really expect this start of the match unfortunately, the three double faults. That's how it is sometimes," the Czech assessed. "I'm just glad that I was able to came back in the first set, and to break her afterwards. It was a good point that I won my second service game. It was very important for me."

She added: "It was more about the passion probably than about the nerves that I don't really know what will be on the Centre Court...Of course, the first rounds are always difficult, so the nerves are there - but not that much as before."

Despite landing just 45 percent of her first serves in the opener, Kvitova won points behind them in emphatic fashion at the 79 percent mark, and made Larsson pay for landing under 50 percent of her first serves.

In the second set, Larsson toughed out a five-deuce game to begin the set, but was unable to hold off Kvitova on return in her second service game, as the Czech moved ahead 2-1.

Though Larsson made a late push, breaking Kvitova to level the set at 4-4 and earning two game points in her ensuing service game, the Czech got a second wind to see herself over the finish line.

"It was beautiful to be back on the court playing my game, on the beautiful Centre Court."
Petra Kvitova

The No.11 seed will take on American Madison Brengle in the second round, who defeated Richel Hogenkamp in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. Brengle leads Kvitova in their overall head-to-head 2-1, but the two have never played on grass.

"My expectation is to stand up on Wednesday in the match and just play what I can," Kvitova said. "I don't see myself really too ahead. I'm just here to play every single match what I can. I'm not really thinking that I'm the favorite of the tournament. 

"I feel that my body is not as tired and not as nervous as before, so that's a good sign. I hope it will stay with me forever until my career finishes."

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