Tuesday, July 9, 2019

It's just not tennis without Czechs

Great Britain's hope, Jo Konta, looked for all the world like she was on a solid path to the Wimbledon semifinals, and maybe the final, but then--in today's quarterfinals--she crossed paths with the esteemed professor of all things tennis, from volleying to net etiquette: Barbora Strycova.

The first set was tight, with Strycova winning in a tiebreak. The second set, however, could just as well have been called The Barbora Strycova Tennis Clinic and Variety Show. The Czech veteran appeared to be all over the court at any given time--scooping, volleying, hitting overheads, falling down, getting up, and generally being a full-on nuisance.

The show took its toll on Konta, who won only one game in the set. The only seeded (19) player to be tossed out of the quarterfinals, Konta just simply couldn't deal with Strycova's clean (just nine unforced errors), highly strategic game.

Meanwhile, another very fine grass court player, Alison Riske, was savvy enough to drag seven-time champion Serena Williams to three sets, but ultimately, she couldn't overtake Williams, who hit 19 aces, including an ace at match point ("You know how I like to do it"). It was a fine performance by both players.

Simona Halep had to seriously battle Zhang Shuai in their first set. The Romanian star won that set in a tiebreak, and then overcame her opponent 6-1 in the second set.

Finally, Elina Svitolina defeated a somewhat hampered (with a heavily wrapped thigh, after her three-hour and 17-minute quarterfinal) Karolina Muchova. Had she not been tired and injured, would Muchova have advanced to the semifinals? It's hard to know. Svitolina has been playing extremely well in London. And now, finally, she has reached a major semifinal. It's been a long time coming.

The very talented Muchova has been a breath of fresh air at Wimbledon, and some of us can't wait to see her play again.

In doubles, top seeds Timea Babos and Kiki Mladenovic advanced to the semifinals with a victory over 7th seeds Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke. 6th seeds Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka advanced to the quarterfinals with a win over the Chan sisters, and 3rds seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbara Strycova (there she is again!) also advanced to the quarterfinals.

And in mixed doubles, Serena Williams and Andy Murray advanced to the third round, in which they will face off against top seeds Bruno Soares and Nicole Melichar. Melichar is also the defending champion.

Strycova is not the only Czech player left in the draw. Defending doubles champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova are still alive in the doubles draw.

Here is the singles semifinal draw:

Serena Williams (11) vs. Barbara Strycova
Elina Svitolina (8) vs. Simona Halep (7)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile on another blog, the sour grape juice is flowing freely as Svitolina finally achieves a new grand slam pb. Seems we're only one or two wins away from "The Svit" stalking the land, terrorizing us with disapprovable significant others and having the temerity to spend seconds tweeting about topics only tangentially related to tennis