(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