By Robert Muller
PRAGUE (Reuters) – Petra Kvitova heads into the French Open with two titles under her belt since the beginning of 2019, but a calf injury in a tournament tune-up match this week may derail the two-time Wimbledon champion’s momentum.
The 29-year-old Kvitova was forced to retire from the last major warm-up before Roland Garros with a left calf injury after trailing Greece’s Maria Sakkari on Thursday in the third round of a WTA event in Rome 7-5, 5-7, 4-0.
Kvitova has not commented on her social media networks, and a spokeswoman was not immediately available to discuss her preparations for the French Open or the severity of the injury.
Before Rome, Kvitova appeared well positioned for a run at a first title at the clay court tournament at Roland Garros beginning on May 26.
While the left-hander has made it past the last 16 at the French Open only when she reached the semi finals in 2012, she boasts a 27-7 record on the WTA circuit this year with two titles and appearances in four finals.
The Czech, who lost in the final at this year’s Australian Open to Japan’s Naomi Osaka, had said before the Rome tournament that she was recovering from a recent abdominal injury as she looked to get on track for the French Open.
Kvitova, currently the world’s number five in WTA rankings, returned to professional tennis in May 2017 after recovering from severe wounds to her left playing hand as she struggled with an intruder in her flat during a December 2016 attack.
She crowned her comeback 18 months after the attack with her first final appearance at the 2019 Australian Open as well as victories in Stuttgart and Sydney.
(Reporting by Robert Muller; Writing by Michael Kahn; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)