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KEY DATES FOR WIMBLEDON 2017

Qualifying begins: 26 June

The Draw: 30 June

Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July

Order of Play: 2 July

Championships begin: 3 July

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News
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 10:47 AM BST
Kvitova enjoys triumphant return to grass
Wimbledon.com rounds up the action from the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and in Ilkley. READ MORE

Petra returns to favourite surface

Exactly six months after Petra Kvitova had her racket hand badly cut in a robbery at her home, the two-time Wimbledon singles champion was back thrilling the crowd in Birmingham, powering to a 6-2, 6-3 win over fellow Czech Tereza Smitkova.

Afterwards, Kvitova revealed she may never get her left hand back to where it was before the attack damaged vital tendons in her left hand.

"My hand is not 100 percent. It will never be actually," she said.

"So it's going to take one year, two years when everything will be set up. I'm happy I didn't have to change any techniques or any differences in my racquet or anything like that. So that's important for me to know that I'm trying to play as I did before. And now it's just about the practices and about the matches. So we'll see.

“I am glad that now I can focus on tennis, especially on the grass, and I'm just happy that I'm just here to play tennis and not really think about anything else. And that's important that I am back in reality and just playing the matches.”

Something of a specialist on grass, expectations will be understandably low when the Czech arrives at Wimbledon, but if she can build momentum she will once more be a threat at the site of her two Grand Slam titles.

Kvitova will next face Britain's Naomi Broady for a spot in her first ever Aegon Classic quarter-final. 

Vandeweghe hoping to Cash in

American Coco Vandeweghe is hoping new coach Pat Cash’s television commitments at Queen’s this week will allow him to see her in action at the Aegon Classic at Birmingham, where she faces a second round meeting with British No.1 Johanna Konta.

Vandeweghe split from former coach Craig Kardon coming into the grass court section of the year, and the American admits it was a shock to have the partnership terminated. Her agent came up with three possible alternative coaches, including Cash, who famously won the Wimbledon men’s title in 1987 and has been working with him for only a week.

Cash, who coached fellow Australian Mark Philippoussis to the US Open final in 1998 and worked with Greg Rusedski and Vince Spadea, believes Vandeweghe has the game to win a Grand Slam having watched the world No.30 reach the Australian Open semi-finals in January.

With any new coach/player connection there is a period of bedding in but given the intensity of the grass court season and the imminent arrival of the Championships, Cash and Vandeweghe have to maximise the time they can spend together. That is why the American is so interested in Cash’s television schedule and after beating Christina McHale 6-4, 6-2 she said: "If I play an afternoon match, he said he can make it here on time if they let him off. It was close today. He was debating it, but they're making him commentate two matches, so I told him to quit the slave labour and come out here and watch me play tennis.

"But yeah, he was in Hertogenbosch with me. That was our first week together working, and it's been enjoyable, that's for sure.”

Cash had a trademark black and white checked headband, but Vandeweghe is not keen on adopting that look for her latest Wimbledon campaign and having reached the quarter-finals in 2015, her own trademark visor has overseen success on grass.

“I've tried the headband look. Only in Asia when you're basically at the end of your rope in the season, just to kind of mess around. I think I've worn a visor for so long, I find myself grabbing for the visor and it's not there, and I feel like I look like a complete dunce. So I haven't committed to the headband look.”

Around the Grounds

Konta and Vandeweghe will face each other for the first time on tour and it will be major test for the British player who has moved up to No.7 in the world.

After beating Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 7-6(6), Konta said: "She (Coco) is a very big player. She's got a lot of fire power, a lot of weapons. And I know she enjoys the grass and has done well on this surface previously. So I think it'll be a tough match.

Garbine Muguruza, the former French Open champion, found grass a demanding surface and Russian qualifier Elzaveta Kulichkova a very tough opponent before managing to come through 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

"I often felt like a rookie," said Muguruza. "It was my first match on grass, and she had played three times in the qualifying and was extremely aggressive.” Meanwhile, Lucie Safarova knocked out third seed Dominika Cibulkova in a tense, high quality encounter, saving two match points before prevailing 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-5.

Ilkley round-up

At Ilkley, the big serving Sam Groth, of Australia, eliminated sixth seed Darian King, of Barbados 7-5 6-4 while British wild card Marcus Willis won a real battle with Matthew Ebden of Australia, 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4. Fellow Brit Jay Clarke triumphed over Australian Alex De Minaur 6-3, 7-6(0) while former world No.8 Jurgen Melzer lost 7-6(3), 6-4 to John Millman.

Britain’s Harriet Dart lost against Greece’s Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-0 while Freya Christie found the experienced Andrea Petkovic too tough and lost 6-3, 6-2.

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