Petra Kvitova beat Danielle Collins 7-6 (2), 6-0 Thursday in Melbourne, Australia, to return to a Grand Slam final for the first time since winning the Wimbledon title in 2014.
It’s also the first in what she has called her “second career” following her return from injuries sustained in a home invasion in the Czech Republic in late 2016.
Kvitova, 28, will play for the Australian Open title against either U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka or Karolina Pliskova.
Kvitova missed the Australian Open in 2017 while she was recovering from knife injuries to her left hand. Her best run at a major after returning at the French Open in 2017 was a quarterfinal at the U.S. Open that year.
Kvitova, the eighth seed, is on an 11-match winning streak, after warming up for the Australian Open with a title run in Sydney.
Collins entered the Australian Open with an 0-5 record in Grand Slam matches, but took out three seeded players en route to the semifinals, including a 6-0, 6-2 win over three-time major winner Angelique Kerber.
The match started under clear skies but was delayed at 4-all in the first set while the retractable roof at Rod Laver Arena was closed with the temperature approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The first set was tight, containing one service break each, but Kvitova started to dominate in the cooler, indoor conditions.
Having an Australian Open champion in his corner has helped Lucas Pouille overcome a drought at Melbourne Park, where he has reached the semifinals after five previous first-round exits.
Working with 2006 Australian Open women’s champion Amelie Mauresmo has been one of the key factors.
Pouille reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time with a 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-4 win over 16th-seeded Milos Raonic on Wednesday, fending off a strong comeback from the 2016 Wimbledon runner-up.
Pouille, who had not won an Australian Open match before last week, now faces a nearly impossible task. The final is within his reach — if he can overcome Novak Djokovic, who rules men’s tennis with an iron grip.
Djokovic advanced in Melbourne when 2014 U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori stopped playing while trailing 6-1, 4-1. Nishikori was treated for leg problems by a trainer.
One of Osaka’s main sponsors has taken down an online ad campaign that depicts her with pale skin after it was criticized as insensitive.
Daisuke Okabayashi, a spokesman for Japanese noodle-maker Nissin Foods Holdings, said Thursday that two animation clips, which went up this month, were deleted from the company’s online site Wednesday.
“We as a company put human rights first, and our stance of valuing diversity is unchanged,” he said in a telephone interview. “Whitewashing has never been our intention.”
The clips showed a light-skinned, doe-eyed woman in the trademark style of Japanese manga, or comics. Critics said the depiction does not reflect Osaka’s biracial background: Osaka has a Haitian father and Japanese mother.
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