Kvitova on to 1st Grand Slam semi since ’14

Petra Kvitova is back in a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time since her run to the 2014 title at Wimbledon and a home invasion that nearly derailed her career in 2016.

The two-time Wimbledon champion beat local favorite Ash Barty 6-1, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena and was tearful when she said she had never imagined she would be back here playing.

Kvitova missed the 2017 Australian Open as she recovered from injuries to her left hand sustained during a home invasion in the Czech Republic the previous month.

Her best run at a major after returning from the injuries resulted in a quarterfinal exit at the U.S. Open in 2017.

Kvitova is on a 10-match winning streak after winning the title in Sydney, where she beat Barty in the final, in the week before coming to Melbourne Park.

Barty was the first Australian woman in a decade to reach the quarterfinals here.

Kvitova will next play 25-year-old American Danielle Collins, who reached the Grand Slam semifinals for the first time after coming back to overpower Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Collins had been 0-5 in Grand Slam matches before coming to this tournament, and now is on a five-match winning streak, including victories over three seeded players. She reached the quarterfinals by upsetting three-time major winner and No. 2-seeded Angelique Kerber, the 2016 Australian titlist, 6-0, 6-2.

Pavlyuchenkova’s experience of reaching the quarters at all four majors helped her early as she broke in the second game of the match, which lasted more than 15 minutes and went deuce 11 times.

But the longer the match went, the more settled Collins became.

After breaking Pavlyuchenkova’s serve to take the second set, she conceded just three points in the third as she raced to a 5-0 lead.

The Russian held serve and then saved two match points in the last game before hitting a forehand service return long.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.