Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hradecka upsets Garcia in exciting Charleston match

Photo by Daniel Ward
For many years, Lucie Hradecka was a bit of an exotic item on the WTA tour. An elite doubles star in her own right, the Czech player brought a mighty serve (and a great number of aces) to almost all of her singles matches, yet her singles wins were few and far between. For someone in the WTA to have a really big serve and not win a lot is quite unusual, but such was the case with Hradecka.

Things began to change when Hradecka became much more fit; she began to compete more meaningfully in singles competition. In January of this year, playing as a qualifier, Hradecka upset 5th seed Ana Ivanovic in the first round of the Australian Open, and made it as far as the third round.

Photo by Daniel Ward
This morning in Charleston, the Czech qualifier (who upset 11th seed Zarina Diyas in the first round) upset 8th seed Caroline Garcia in a match that contained a lot of spark and thrilling action. Hradecka's serve was on, as usual, and she hit 12 aces. But something else was switched on, too--Hradecka's return game. Garcia is quick, deceptively strong, and generally, a good server. But so many times today, she wound up flummoxed by Hradecka's line-hugging returns.

Garcia, who may have been hampered by a heavily strapped thigh, put up a great fight in the third set, going from 1-4 down to 4-all. But then, after all that work, she was broken again, and Hradecka had no trouble serving for the match.

Hradecka's next opponent is 4th seed Sara Errani of Italy.

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