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Tennis: Kvitova starts season in style

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

World number six Petra Kvitova powered into the new season with a comprehensive win over Anabel Medina Garrigues as the Czech Republic completed a clean sweep of Spain at the mixed-team Hopman Cup on Sunday.

Kvitova was far too good for Medina Garrigues, who won the tournament with Fernando Verdasco earlier this year but battled knee soreness against the 2011 Wimbledon champion in their singles clash.

From the outset, Kvitova simply had too much power for the veteran Spaniard, ranked 100th, and she dropped just one game in a 6-1, 6-0 rout that took less than an hour.

Kvitova's boyfriend, Radek Stepanek, then secured the Group B tie for the Czechs with an easy win over little-known Spaniard Daniel Munoz-De La Nava.

The Czechs also won the mixed doubles.

It has been an indifferent couple of years for Kvitova following the breakthrough success at Wimbledon that enabled her to finish 2011 ranked second in the world behind Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki.

Kvitova, 23, was pleased with her form, saying she had worked hard on improving her fitness heading into the new year.

"My off-season preparation was very hard," she said.

"I need to be healthy for sure because unfortunately I have always struggled with my body so I hope it's going to be better.

"I can improve everything (fitness-wise)," she added.

"I can be faster, quicker, stronger, fitter."

Kvitova said she was focused on improving her efforts in the Grand Slams next year, after failing to advance beyond the quarter-finals in 2013.

Medina Garrigues said she was struggling with ongoing knee soreness after the long flight to Australia, but was confident she would be fit to fulfil her commitments at the tournament.

Stepanek, 35, had no problems with Munoz-De La Nava, winning 6-2, 6-2 in 78 minutes.

Ranked 194th in the world compared to Stepanek's 44, Munoz-De La Nava was a late call-up for the Hopman Cup, when countryman Tommy Robredo pulled out just 24 hours before the event with an arm injury.

The Czechs completed a 3-0 win in the tie when they cruised through the mixed doubles, winning 6-3, 6-4.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131229/tennis-kvitova-starts-season-style