June 21, 2018 / 2:53 PM / 5 months ago

Tennis: Muguruza falls short in Birmingham, Kvitova into quarters

Tennis - WTA Premier - Nature Valley Classic - Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham, Britain - June 21, 2018 Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in action during her second round match against Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

(Reuters) - Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza suffered a 6-2 6-4 defeat at the hands of unseeded Czech Barbora Strycova in the second round of the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham on Thursday.

The experienced Strycova, a runner-up at this Edgbaston tournament in 2014 and 2016, picked up a double break early in the first set and eventually defeated the top seed with surprising ease in just under one and a half hours.

The defeat comes as a setback for the Spaniard’s grasscourt preparations ahead of Wimbledon, which starts on July 2.

Defending Birmingham champion Petra Kvitova continued her impressive grasscourt form after overpowering Australia’s Daria Gavrilova 6-2 6-2 to book a spot in the quarter-finals.

Fourth seed Kvitova broke early in the first set and hit some powerful backhands and strong returns to wrap up the contest in one hour and 18 minutes.

“I think a few of the games were very tight, especially when you need to break. It’s always tough to get the break on the grass,” Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, said.

“I think there’s still a few things I can improve — the serve, probably. You need to serve well on the grass.

“The conditions were pretty tough today with the wind.”

The 24-year-old will face either Germany’s Julia Goerges or Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Reporting by Anirban Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Chadband

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