Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova returns a ball to France's Kristina Mladenovic on day five of the Birmingham Classic tennis tournament at Edgbaston Priory, Birmingham, England, Friday June 23, 2017. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)
AP Photo
June 23, 2017

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, competing in only her second tournament since her playing hand was injured in a knife attack at her home, advanced to the semifinals at the Aegon Classic on Friday.

The left-handed Czech player beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 7-6 (5) on grass at the Wimbledon warm-up tournament.

Kvitova, who struck the ball solidly from both sides, moved well and made some forays to the net. But she double-faulted twice when she was trying to close out the match, allowing Mladenovic to eventually even the second set at 5-5.

''I struggled from after that time,'' Kvitova said.

Kvitova will next face Lucie Safarova, someone she has known since childhood in the Czech Republic.

Safarova had to save match points for the second time this week, trailing 5-3 in the final set before beating Daria Gavrilova 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (5).

Trailing again 5-3 in the final tiebreaker, Safarova hit a shot to the baseline that was called in. Gavrilova challenged the call, but the screen failed to produce a replay. The chair umpire then told Gavrilova that the replay showed the ball was in, robbing her of three match points.

''I just believed,'' Safarova said of the incident.

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