PARIS (Reuters) - The French Open holds special memories for Petra Kvitova, not because she has won the title but because it is where she resumed her career after a knife attack that almost ended it.
Kvitova was sidelined for six months after an attack by a burglar at her home in the Czech Republic just before Christmas in 2016 that left her with severe damage to the nerves and tendons in her left hand.
She returned, ahead of schedule, at the 2017 French Open and lost in the second round, but it was a crucial moment in a return to some sort of normality for the twice Wimbledon winner.
So she admitted her 6-2 6-4 victory over China’s Zhang Shuai on Monday to put reach the quarter-finals for the first time in eight years was extra special.
“I got a bit emotional the last two points of my match,” the 30-year-old seventh seed told reporters.
“I really had to start thinking still about the match because in tennis we really never know when it’s end. But my memories, happy memories, when I made my comeback here 2017, when I step on the Philippe Chatrier Court, I couldn’t really imagine me to be in the quarter-finals of this slam.
“Everything just came back to me. It’s been a long ride definitely.”
Almost four years after that attack, Kvitova may never have a better opportunity to add a third Grand Slam to her tally even if she is not known as a natural claycourter.
She is yet to drop a set in four rounds in Paris and faces unseeded German Laura Siegemund for a place in only her second French Open semi-final.
With so many of the top seeds having already departed, Kvitova is the biggest name left in the draw.
“I think it was a miracle for me to make the semi-final here in Roland Garros,” she said. “After eight years to be in the quarter-final again, it’s great. I’m really happy for that, that I’m still able to play on all surfaces.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond
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