June 21, 2018 / 2:53 PM / a month ago

Muguruza falls short in Birmingham, Kvitova into quarters

(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.

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

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.

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

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.

Slideshow (2 Images)

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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